"Do Look Up" When Passing Through LAX Security

TSA airport digital screening includes facial recognition and CAT scanning systems
women on airport walkway with funny sweater and eyes looking up
Los Angeles (Vax Before Travel)

Just as Spring Break 2022 travelers are booking last-minute flights, rushing through airport security has become easier when ‘looking’ into unique cameras.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security checkpoints at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) recently introduced facial recognition technology to verify the identity of prospective flyers.

When entering the TSA screening area, guests may be asked to insert their government-issued photo ID into a next-generation Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) unit equipped with a camera that captures a photo of the guest. 

The CAT compares the guest’s facial features on their photo ID against the facial features from the in-person photo, confirming their identity.

Guests need to adjust their face masks for the in-person photo to ensure this new world system.

Once the technology confirms a match, it will be verified by a TSA officer, and the guest can proceed through the checkpoint without ever exchanging physical documents.

LAX guests who do not wish to participate in facial recognition verification can opt-out for an alternative identity verification process. 

“TSA is focused on the future of screening operations and leveraging enhanced capabilities of existing technologies to ensure the highest level of security effectiveness.” 

“With increased automation and reduced physical contact between travelers and TSA officers, this new identity verification process is a win for everyone,” said TSA Federal Security Director at LAX Keith Jeffries, in a press statement issued on March 17, 2022.

Currently, TSA is collecting data to measure the rate and accuracy of guest facial recognition and identity verification to help the agency evaluate the overall performance of the units in a busy security checkpoint environment. 

The results of this pilot will help determine the feasibility and potential deployment of the enhanced CAT units to other airports in the future. And photos captured by CAT units will not be stored or used for any other purpose than identity verification in the security checkpoint. 

CAT plays an essential role in travel document verification. 

It improves a TSA officer’s ability to authenticate a guest’s photo identification while also identifying inconsistencies associated with fraudulent travel documents.

In its partnership with TSA, LAX has been at the forefront of implementing emerging security technologies, focusing on technology-driven innovations. 

In January 2021, TSA announced that LAX was the first airport in the country to be fully outfitted with first-generation CAT units at all of the airport's security screening checkpoints.

Recently, the TSA announced the award of two orders for a combined total value of up to $781.2 million to Analogic for the procurement and maintenance of base and full-size Computed Tomography (CT) x-ray systems for carry-on items at TSA checkpoints.      

The awards are one element in the more considerable effort to improve checkpoint security screening. The two orders were awarded for procuring up to 469 base systems and 469 full-size systems. 

TSA anticipates the beginning deployment of base and full-size systems to airport checkpoints in the summer of 2022.

The increasing number of air travelers will test these TSA investments and new screening systems.

According to TSA data published on March 19, 2022, airport screening volumes are approaching the pre-pandemic levels of 2019. Over the past week, over 2 million people were screened each day.

Furthermore, while many destinations are updating COVID-19 vaccination requirements, many countries require other travel vaccines such as yellow fever, polio, and measles prior to granting entry.

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Note: This news article integrated and edited TSA media statements and was curated for mobile readers.