TSA roadmap reveals big airport facial recognition expansion plans

The TSA wants to widely expand the use of facial recognition technology in US airports, revealing the plan in a newly published roadmap. According to the agency, this plan will "modernize" passenger screening in airports in the relatively near future, using biometric data to identify travelers while speeding up the entire screening process.

The TSA's roadmap highlights four primary goals, including a partnership with Customs and Border Protection on the use of biometric data for international travelers. As well, the roadmap is aiming to use biometric data on TSA Pre✓ members, expanding the use of this screening technology on domestic travelers, and developing the infrastructure necessary for expanding the use of this technology.

The agency says it is already striking partnerships and making investments that pave the way for achieving its goal. The TSA already started using facial recognition technology earlier this year at LAX, having started its work with CBP at the JFK International Airport last year.

The government already has a large quantity of biometric data on travelers, such as passport images that can be used with facial recognition systems. The technology will utilize these government databases, according to TSA, this ideally reducing reliance on physical documents presented by the traveler.

In addition to facial recognition technology, TSA tested the use of fingerprints on Pre✓ members in summer 2017 at a couple US airports. Any new TSA Pre✓ customers are now required to provide a photo as part of their membership. Once enough members have submitted these images, the TSA plans to use them to test biometric scanning at a number of airports.