TSA piloting biometric lockers

The Transportation Security Administration is piloting a program at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport that uses biometrics to secure public lockers.

TSA shut down lockers inside airport security checkpoints after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Now, aiming to restore the locker service, the agency is testing a computerized lock system provided by Smarte Carte Inc. that requires a fingerprint to store or retrieve items. The new lockers have touch screens that lead customers through the rental process.

"It is important to balance security and customer service," said Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.) at a news conference Sept. 3. "This pilot program shows great promise to deliver both."

TSA plans to review results of the program then make a final decision on whether to revise its locker policy.

Go Team No. 9 — one of about 36 transportation task forces formed in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks — completed its analysis in January of biometric technologies, which identify people with techniques including facial recognition, fingerprinting and eye scans.

The team recommended that TSA pursue applications for surveillance, employees, passengers, pilots, flight crew and air traffic controllers.

The agency is working on smart cards that will provide secure access to buildings and computer networks. The smart identification cards will hold biometric information, most likely in the form of fingerprints.

Trusted traveler cards for frequent airline passengers will use the same architecture.

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