Charlotte Eyes New Airport Security Tool

The Charlotte/Douglas International Airport will work with Spring Technologies Inc. to use iris recognition tools to control access to restricted airport areas.

The pilot program, which will begin in the first quarter of next year, is designed to provide heightened security and a new employee identification system. The Charlotte, N.C., airport will be the first to use Spring's TranSecure system.

A digital picture will be taken of an employee's iris with a video camera, and thereafter a one-second glance into a camera provides instant recognition of the authorized employee. If it's not the employee's eye, the person won't be allowed into the secure area.

"We continue to enhance our security profile," said Jerry Orr, director of the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. "Making it more effective and at the same time even more transparent, is quite beneficial." The program, which is being offered for free by the company, will last about six months. The airport will use that time to evaluate the program and compare it with the current card-password system.

"We see the pilot as turning into a regular process used at the airport," company spokeswoman Catherine Kaliniak said. "We see it becoming part of their daily operations."

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