Airlines eye biometric checkpoints

  • The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently showcased a next-gen security "checkpoint" featuring eye scanners and high-tech tunnels equipped with advanced sensors.



    According to IATA Director General Giovanni Bisignani, future travelers could be categorized based on a "government risk assessment analysis" stored on a passport chip. An eye scan would then confirm and match the passenger to his or her passport.

    Low-risk passengers would walk through one tunnel with their carry-on luggage, while high-risk passengers would be escorted to another tunnel that performs a full body scan while searching for items like explosives.

    "We must amalgamate intelligence based on passenger information and new technology...That means moving from a system that looks for bad objects, to one that can find bad people," said IATA Director General Giovanni Bisignani.

    "[Of course], passengers should be able to get from curb to boarding gate with dignity. That means without stopping, stripping or unpacking, and certainly not groping."

    TSA chief John Pistole seemed to endorse the biometric checkpoint in theory, saying the new system was "long overdue."

    "We're not at the checkpoint of the future yet but we're working toward that... [So] I think eventually we will see something similar."

    But Elyezer Shkedy, chief executive of El Al Israel Airlines, cautioned against placing an over-emphasis on technology.

    "You must always change your way of defending. Otherwise, terrorists will find your weak points," he warned.

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