The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced several parameters for its nationwide private sector Registered Traveller programme, including the type of biometrics to be used for identification purposes and the storage device upon which these biometrics will be stored.
TSA said that Registered Traveller programmes could become operational later this year, and it is directing RT program providers to collect 10 fingerprint images from each applicant. This biometric information, according to TSA, will be used to verify participant identity at RT checkpoints.
To store biometric data for identity confirmation, RT programs will utilize smart card technology that conforms to current Federal Technical Implementation Guidance (see http://smart.gov), and biometrics will be stored consistent with biometric standards established by the American National Standards Institute/InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (ANSI/INCITS). All Registered Traveller data will be handled in compliance with the Federal Privacy Act.
According to TSA, these biometrics, which are in widespread use today, provide exceptionally high levels of accuracy.
The Registered Traveller programme is envisioned as a way to accelerate the screening process at participating airports for passengers who voluntarily choose to enrol in the programme.
TSA commented that the recently announced Rice-Chertoff vision for developing new solutions specified the best use of new technologies to improve security and facilitate travel across US borders. With this goal in mind, TSA said it will work with private sector providers of Registered Traveller programs to harmonize technologies and business processes with government-sponsored travel facilitation programmes.
It is intended that the program will be harmonized with the DHS-
According to TSA Administrator Kip Hawley: “Security is and will continue to be TSA’s number one priority. We are receptive to innovative private sector ideas to develop a market-based nationwide programme that enhances security and offers a more appealing travel experience to programme participants.”
The Registered Traveller programmes are intended to be market-driven and offered by the private sector. Individual participation in a Registered Traveller program will be entirely voluntary, with prices established by private sector providers.
TSA will mandate a core RT security assessment for each applicant to a Registered Traveller program. If RT providers undertake more in-depth security background checks (e.g., by using commercial data specifically authorized by customers, or by other voluntary means), TSA will offer a variety of enhanced or time-saving participant benefits at passenger screening checkpoints.
Participants may receive significant efficiency benefits over what exists today, if additional security is added by a more thorough background check. Further, TSA will not exempt Registered Traveller participants from random additional screening, however.
Today’s announcement is the latest progress point in a plan announced last fall that is expected to lead to TSA approval of qualified RT programs by June of this year.
By late April, TSA expects to: