TSA introduces new ID screening technology at Albany

COLONIE — New scanners intended to verify the validity of a passenger’s identification have been introduced at Albany International Airport security checkpoints, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

The scanners can also confirm the traveler’s flight information in near real time, the TSA said Monday.

“The technology enhances detection capabilities for identifying fraudulent documents such as driver’s licenses and passports at checkpoints and increases efficiency by automatically verifying passenger identification,” said Bart Johnson, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Upstate New York. “The system will also confirm the passenger’s flight status in near real time through a secured connection.”

TSA officers will no longer have to handle the passenger’s boarding pass, eliminating a touch point and reducing the risk of spreading the coronavirus. Passengers will still need to show the officer the document for a visual check.

And they’ll still need the boarding pass, either printed out or displayed on their smartphone, to show to the gate agent as they board their flight.

The credential authentication technology, or CAT, is able to process “several thousand types” of identification documents, including passports, military common access cards, retired military ID cards, Department of Homeland Security Trusted Traveler ID cards, uniformed services ID cards, permanent resident cards, U.S. visas and driver’s licenses and photo IDs issued by state motor vehicle departments, according to the TSA.

Starting Oct. 1, 2021, the CAT will reject drivers’ licenses that aren’t Real ID compliant. The TSA last week introduced a countdown clock showing how much time remained for travelers to switch to a Real ID license.

CATs include electronic readers for passports, ID cards, federal personal identity verification ID cards, monitors, and an ultraviolet light.

The technology is the latest effort by the TSA to minimize direct contact at the checkpoint to maintain social distancing. New three-dimensional X-ray scanners have been installed to give officers more detail on the contents of carry-on luggage without having to open it and physically handle the contents.

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