Twitter Facebook Google RSS
 
Security Beat 

Airlines Collecting Exit Data from Travelers Still Possible, DHS Official Says 

2,010 

By Stew Magnuson  

A controversial plan to have airlines collect biometric data from foreign passengers leaving the United States is still a possibility, a Department of Homeland Security official said.

DHS’ US-VISIT program collects fingerprints and digital photos from visitors arriving in the United States, but does not have a system in place to verify if and when travelers have departed.  

The program has run several pilot projects to collect this data, but has not come up with a solution. A proposal to have airlines collect the information for DHS has been met with widespread opposition from the industry.

That option is still on the table, said Steve Yonkers, deputy assistant director of business policy and planning at the US-VISIT program.

The department has tested two portable biometric collection devices, one that fits inside a small case, and another handheld version, that can collect fingerprints and photographs.

Both Transportation Security Administration screeners and Customs and Border Protection agents have used the collection devices to see not only if they worked, but also to determine if they had an impact on operations. For example, how quickly can passengers move through all the security checks?

 “Overall, we found that the technologies worked extremely well. And both CBP and TSA say they are viable options,” Yonkers said at the National Defense Industrial Association biometrics conference.

Yonkers suggested that it could still be airlines rather than DHS employees using the handheld and portable devices.

Finding a spot in airports to collect the data has been one issue preventing the collection of departure information. US-VISIT previously tried a pilot program where kiosks were set up in airports, and passengers were asked to scan their documents before departing. The kiosks were difficult to locate because airports did not want to give up prime space that could be used by vendors.

In 2008, the agency set up kiosks at airports in Atlanta and Detroit with TSA or CBP personnel manning the stations. They were placed at “chokepoints,” areas where all travelers passed by as they made their way to their flights. The agencies had better results than they did with the unmanned kiosks, DHS spokeswoman Anna Hinken told National Defense last year. It would cost $1.3 billion to $2.8 billion to expand exit programs nationwide, she said.

The findings of the latest pilot program will be presented to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, and she will make the final decision on whether they will be fielded, Yonkers said.
Submit Your Reader's Comment Below
*Name
 
*eMail
 
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
*Comments
 
 
Refresh
Please enter the text displayed in the image.
The picture contains 6 characters.
*Characters
  
*Legal Notice

NDIA is not responsible for screening, policing, editing, or monitoring your or another user's postings and encourages all of its users to use reasonable discretion and caution in evaluating or reviewing any posting. Moreover, and except as provided below with respect to NDIA's right and ability to delete or remove a posting (or any part thereof), NDIA does not endorse, oppose, or edit any opinion or information provided by you or another user and does not make any representation with respect to, nor does it endorse the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement, or other material displayed, uploaded, or distributed by you or any other user. Nevertheless, NDIA reserves the right to delete or take other action with respect to postings (or parts thereof) that NDIA believes in good faith violate this Legal Notice and/or are potentially harmful or unlawful. If you violate this Legal Notice, NDIA may, in its sole discretion, delete the unacceptable content from your posting, remove or delete the posting in its entirety, issue you a warning, and/or terminate your use of the NDIA site. Moreover, it is a policy of NDIA to take appropriate actions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other applicable intellectual property laws. If you become aware of postings that violate these rules regarding acceptable behavior or content, you may contact NDIA at 703.522.1820.

 
 
  Bookmark and Share