Industry aids Registered Traveler

Companies that are implementing the Transportation Security Administration’s voluntary screening program for airline passengers have created a new industry group to advocate for the program and other large-scale credentialing efforts.

The Voluntary Credentialing Industry Coalition (VCIC) brings together biometrics and access-control technology companies working on Registered Traveler, said Jim Miller, chairman and chief executive officer of ImageWare Systems, a partner in the group.

VCIC will “focus the public policy debate on how to best implement a system with as much speed as possible” because Congress wants Registered Traveler running by the middle of this year, Miller said.

Registered Traveler is intended to speed more travelers through airport security checks. The program also aims to reduce the number of passengers that screeners must check by designating qualified participants as low risk.

Tom Blank, a principal at Wexler and Walker Public Policy Associates and former acting deputy administrator at TSA, will lead the group.

Other companies participating in VCIC include Arinc, GE Security, Iridian Technologies, Lockheed Martin, Panasonic, Saflink and Verified Identity Pass.

The companies currently participate in a public/private partnership with TSA in a pilot program in Orlando, Fla. The agency launched a version of Registered Traveler that it ran at five airports in August 2004 before shutting down those locations Sept. 30, 2005.

VCIC will help the public understand that many companies are cooperating to bring Registered Traveler to life, Miller said. The group will address consumer privacy, data theft and other concerns about credentialing programs.

The organization will also promote Registered Traveler’s business model and concept throughout the aviation industry, said Richard Bredeson, senior director of security products at Arinc.

VCIC will advise the public about the benefits of using Registered Traveler, such as getting expedited passage through primary security checks and avoiding secondary ones, Bredeson said. Other benefits could include parking privileges and discounts at Starbucks, he said.

VCIC will work with TSA to develop interoperability standards so that Registered Traveler identity cards work at all airports, Bredeson said.

Although Registered Traveler is its immediate concern, the organization will also advise the government and public about other voluntary federal credentialing programs, such as the Transportation Worker Identification Credential, Miller said.

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