The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on Wednesday published its first blueprint that puts forth its vision for developing and deploying capabilities along the identity management process, from enrolling and credentialing, through identity proofing, vetting and then verifying identities as part of everyday operations.
The TSA Identity Management Roadmap builds on the agency’s 2018 Biometrics Roadmap, which laid out plans to begin adopting biometric technologies to strengthen aviation security through improving the verification of individual identities and improving the passenger travel experience through an airport.
Since then, TSA has conducted numerous evaluations of facial comparison technology at airport security checkpoints and is nearing its goal to use the technology in routine operations.
The Identity Management Roadmap has four goals, each with several underlying objectives, and include enhancing the credential holder and passenger experience during enrollment and making travel reservations, expand and evolve standards for identity proofing to support vetting and verification activities, evolving vetting capabilities to respond to new threats, policies and technologies, and finally, supporting identity verification activities across the agency.
The new roadmap builds on the “Biometrics Roadmap by articulating a comprehensive end-to-end strategy for IDM at TSA and chronicling the next iteration of TSA’s thinking on biometrics,” TSA Administrator David Pekose says in a foreword to the document. “This Roadmap will serve as a blueprint for future IDM work across the Agency and addendums will be published to expand on emerging priority topics.”
To aid its identity verification of travelers, TSA has been rolling out credential authentication technology (CAT) devices at the Travel Document Checker position at airport security checkpoints. The CAT units, small portable desktop devices, ingest a traveler’s driver’s license to enable a background check against the TSA Secure Flight vetting database, verify that a person has a flight reservation that day, and verify the authenticity of the travel document.
IDEMIA provide the CAT systems to TSA.
TSA plans to eventually transition to the CAT-2 device, which includes a camera, and will require an individual to self-scan their identity credentials to verify the authenticity of the document and pause for a live photo that is compared to the photo on the credential to verify that he or she is the valid holder of the credential. This capability is currently being piloted, Jason Lim, TSA’s identity management capabilities manager, said on Wednesday during a webinar hosted by Future Travel Experience.
TSA early this summer also plans to conduct pilot evaluations at three airports of what it calls AutoCAT, which is an eGate configuration that includes the same features as CAT-2 for a touchless travel experience and allows the agency to consider different staffing models, essentially allowing a Transportation Security Officer to oversee multiple lanes at once while also processing more passengers, Lim said.
The CAT-2 machine will also be used to read and process digital identities such as mobile driver’s licenses, he said.
TSA also plans to use the CAT-2 devices at its PreCheck trusted traveler lanes at security checkpoints to use a person’s live photo as their identity credential. For this setup, the live photo will be compared to a small database of images maintained by Customs and Border Protection.
CBP uses its Traveler Verification Service to create image galleries of individuals due to depart from the U.S., and arrive to the U.S., on international flights on a specific day. TSA PreCheck participants provide their facial photo at enrollment into the program, which the agency in turn will use to add to the TVS gallery for flights on a given day.
The CAT-2 for PreCheck will also undergo a series of pilot evaluations, Lim said.