Amer­i­can air­ports: Mor­pho stream­lines ID checks


The US Trans­porta­tion Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion (TSA) has cho­sen Mor­pho (Safran) to de­velop a so­lu­tion to op­ti­mise ID and board­ing pass checks. This mis­sion for the ID spe­cial­ist is based on trust. The US TSA chose Mor­phoTrust USA to de­velop new tech­nol­ogy to im­prove trav­eller con­ve­nience and se­cu­rity in Septem­ber 2011. “When trav­ellers arrive at the air­port to take a flight, they have to pro­vide their ID and board­ing pass to­gether at the se­cu­rity check­point,” ex­plains Mor­phoTrust USA Project Man­ager Chad Crouch. He adds, “To­day, the of­fi­cers in charge of run­ning these checks – Travel Doc­u­ment Check­ers – man­u­ally check that pas­sen­ger names on doc­u­ments and board­ing passes match and that the doc­u­ments are authen­tic.” That is the step that TSA wants to stream­line with its CAT/ BPSS pro­gramme.

More re­li­able checks

There are no fewer than 1,300 dif­fer­ent gov­ern­ment-is­sued ID doc­u­ments in the US alone which in­cor­po­rate a va­ri­ety of se­cu­rity fea­tures to pre­vent forgery (ul­tra­vi­o­let ink, holo­grams, wa­ter­marks, etc.). Chad Crouch ex­plains, “No one per­son can know all the fea­tures on all the doc­u­ments. The Travel Doc­u­ment Check­ers have fairly rudi­men­tary tools to check them so there is a risk of hu­man er­ror.” This TSA pro­gramme is geared to­wards de­vel­op­ing an IT sys­tem that will ren­der pre-board­ing authentication and ver­i­fi­ca­tion op­er­a­tions swifter and smarter.

Three months to de­velop the pi­lot project

The sys­tem that Mor­phoTrust USA de­vel­oped uses a reader that can scan an ID doc­u­ment and pro­vide ac­cu­rate authentication by li­ais­ing with a data­base con­tain­ing the ex­ist­ing doc­u­ments and their authentication fea­tures. The reader also picks up the pub­lic-record in­for­ma­tion on the doc­u­ment – con­tained in the bar code, magnetic strip or elec­tronic chip – and then com­pares it to the in­for­ma­tion on the board­ing pass, in sec­onds! Chad Crouch adds, “Once the trans­ac­tion is com­plete, the per­sonal in­for­ma­tion cap­tured from both doc­u­ments is in­stantly purged from the sys­tem,” Chad Crouch ex­plains. He adds, “TSA is very se­ri­ous about pri­vacy pro­tec­tion.”

Mor­phoTrust USA only took three months to build its sys­tem for the pi­lot. The team used Mor­pho’s B5000 reader, which is al­ready used ex­ten­sively to au­then­ti­cate pass­ports. By last April, 10 pro­to­type sys­tems were de­liv­ered and six of them were in­stalled in three US air­ports for op­er­a­tional test­ing and eval­u­a­tion. Chad Crouch adds: “We ob­vi­ously hope this test­ing stage re­sults in an agree­ment to start in­dus­trial pro­duc­tion and large-scale de­ploy­ment. In any case, we have de­vel­oped a solid re­la­tion­ship with our cus­tomer over the past few years and look for­ward to ex­pand­ing it fur­ther as the prime con­trac­tor re­spon­si­ble for the Univer­sal En­roll­ment Ser­vice (UES) pro­gramme.”

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