Hstoday Pittsburgh Airport Enhances Security with New TSA Credential Authentication Tech

New technology that confirms the validity of a traveler’s identification (ID) and confirms their flight information in real time is now in use at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security main checkpoint at Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT).

This deployment is the latest generation of Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) to verify the identity of travelers. First generation CAT units are designed to scan a traveler’s photo identification, confirm the traveler’s identity as well as their flight details. The new CAT units, referred to as CAT-2, have the same capabilities, but are also equipped with a camera that captures a real-time photo of the traveler.

CAT-2 compares the traveler’s photo on the ID against the in-person, real-time photo. Once the CAT-2 confirms the match, a TSA officer verifies and the traveler can proceed through the checkpoint, without ever exchanging a boarding pass. The photo is then deleted.

The CAT-2 units are equipped with cameras on tablets and are used to match the face of the person standing at the checkpoint with the face that appears on the traveler’s ID such as the person’s driver’s license or passport. The technology enhances detection capabilities for identifying fraudulent documents at the security checkpoint. The photos are not saved and are only used to match the person standing at the travel document checking podium with the photo on the ID that is being presented.

“Identity verification of every traveler prior to flying is a key step in the security screening process,” said Karen Keys-Turner, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “This technology enhances detection capabilities for identifying fraudulent IDs such as driver’s licenses and passports at a checkpoint and it increases efficiency by automatically verifying a passenger’s identification. We just want to ensure that you are who you say you are.”

Travelers hand their ID to the TSA officer, look at the camera and if the ID is validated, the traveler then proceeds into the checkpoint. Even with TSA’s use of these units, travelers still need to check-in with their airline in advance and bring their boarding pass to their gate to show the airline representative before boarding their flight.

“This latest technology helps ensure that we know who is boarding flights,” Keys-Turner said. “Credential authentication plays an important role in passenger identity verification. It improves a TSA officer’s ability to validate a traveler’s photo identification while also identifying any inconsistencies associated with fraudulent travel documents.”

The system also confirms the passenger’s flight status by verifying that the individual is ticketed to fly out of an airport on that same day.

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition’s Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.


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