TSA Seeks Alternative Identification Verification System

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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is seeking other means to identify airline passengers when they cannot provide acceptable identity documentation.

The solution TSA is looking for will be contractor-owned and contractor-operated, while being able to verify a passenger’s identity in real time, without the need for physical forms of identification or biometric information.

“TSA aims to have this technical solution provide a consent-based and scalable platform where the identity assurance services potentially are fee-based and funded by those who use the services,” a request for information (RFI) said.

According to the RFI, passengers will be able to enter limited biographic data elements and payment information via a front-end digital services application which “can securely liaise with back-end databases of known entities.”

The solution TSA seeks will also need to include a two-step process:

  1. A passenger’s biographic data must be confirmed as genuine and existent within a database, while not being fraudulent; and
  2. The passenger is claiming the biographic data is their own, and not presenting another individual’s data – or synthetic biographic data – as their own.

“Prior to the COVID-19 National Emergency, TSA encountered over 2.5 million passengers a day and, on average, 600 instances of passengers without acceptable ID,” TSA said. “These individuals are able to verify their identity via telephone through our National Transportation Vetting Center. The agency is exploring other methods to verify an individual’s identity that do not rely on physical identification or biometrics.

Responses for the RFI are due August 28.

Jordan Smith
About Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.

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