Security

TSA moves toward e-check of IDs

TSA Blog screenshot: TSA TSIF.

A trial of the Electronic Credential Authentication Technology will start this fall at the Transportation Systems Integration Facility at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

The Transportation Security Administration cut an $85 million contract for technology that will let it electronically check passengers' identification cards and other documents against multiple databases.

The aim is to speed up passenger security lines at airports by allowing electronic checks of drivers' licenses and other documents that are now checked visually by TSA agents against passengers' boarding passes. The checks are typically the initial security point before a passenger enters the TSA's screening areas at airport gates.

TSA and contracting company Morphotrust are calling the program Electronic Credential Authentication Technology. The E-CAT contract could last as long as seven years, the company said.

E-CAT automatically checks security features embedded in a passenger's identification document to ensure it has not been altered or is counterfeit. Once the E-CAT is connected to TSA's network, this information will simultaneously be verified against the passenger boarding information from Secure Flight, TSA's watch list matching system that draws on multiple federal databases.

"Credential authentication technology determines whether identification documents presented at the checkpoint are authentic, fraudulent, or expired and uses identification document information to obtain a passenger's vetting status from Secure Flight," TSA said in a statement to FCW. "This technology will provide TSA officers with enhanced detection capabilities for identifying fraudulent and/or invalid passenger identification documents."

Over the last year and a half, TSA has conducted proof-of-concept activities at airports to test how its network infrastructure can be designed to support E-CAT operations. The trial will start this fall at the Transportation Systems Integration Facility at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport near Washington D.C.

If the system works in the trial run, TSA said, it would move into airports for further assessment.

MorphoTrust's technology is part of some of the agency's higher profile identity programs, including TSA Pre Check. It is also prime contractor for TSA's Universal Enrollment Services, a unified platform that links the Transportation Worker Identity Credential, or TWIC card, and Hazardous Materials Endorsement Threat Assessment Program into a single service with enrollment locations nationwide.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Tue, Aug 19, 2014

what gives: $85 Mio to get us all quicker to stand in line at the x-ray machines? Why isn't somebody requiring to look at the whole security approach at the airports from a holistic point of view?

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group