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TSA Trying to Sell Use of Biometrics By Saying It Would ‘Lower the Stress of Traveling’

TSA Trying to Sell Use of Biometrics By Saying It Would ‘Lower the Stress of Traveling’

Transportation Security Administration chief David Pekoske indicates the biometrics will eventually not be optional.

The Transportation Security Administration began adding facial recognition technology in airports nationwide in 2022.

As this technology and other new biometric capabilities are causing concerns about privacy and personal freedom, the TSA is trying to sell this trend by saying it would ‘lower the stress of traveling.’

Transportation Security Administration chief David Pekoske said the agency wants to use technology to reduce the number of screening officers in checkpoints and speed up travel processes as passenger volumes increase.

At Tuesday’s panel at South by Southwest, which focused on accelerating aviation security, he boasted about the agency’s computed tomography technology and biometrics. Despite struggling with staffing a year ago, Pekoske said that nearly 2.4 million people are screened on a given day by TSA.

Pekoske said that TSA’s purpose is to make sure it maintains its security and transportation system at the same time, while staying several steps ahead of threats.

“It’s critically important that this system has as little friction as it possibly can, while we provide for safety and security,” Pekoske said.

Salt Lake City’s airport recently installed a new Credential Authentication Technology (CAT).

Much like the original CAT units, they are designed to scan a traveler’s photo ID and confirm their identity and flight details. What makes CAT-2 different is its ability to take a real-time photo of travelers and compare their facial features to ensure they match. Passengers will be able to use either their photo ID or the GET Mobile ID app that was announced to be accepted at the TSA PreCheck in the Salt Lake City International Airport last week.
Two new movies and a tv show will be filmed in Utah this year

“It’s really that extra layer of security to ensure that the ID the traveler is using is in fact authentic. And that’s another benefit of credential authentication technology. That was a feature with the first feature of CAT and continues to be a feature in the second generation of CAT,” said TSA spokesperson Lorie Dankers.

This direction is causing a great deal of concern about liberty-minded Americans. Legal Insurrection readers may recall our report on Kelly Conlon, who went to New York City with her daughter on a Girl Scout trip. But she couldn’t attend a Rockettes show at Radio City Music Hall because of facial recognition.

Conlon is an associate with the New Jersey based law firm, Davis, Saperstein and Solomon, which for years has been involved in personal injury litigation against a restaurant venue now under the umbrella of MSG Entertainment.

“I don’t practice in New York. I’m not an attorney that works on any cases against MSG,” said Conlon.

But MSG said she was banned nonetheless — along with fellow attorneys in that firm and others.

“MSG instituted a straightforward policy that precludes attorneys pursuing active litigation against the Company from attending events at our venues until that litigation has been resolved. While we understand this policy is disappointing to some, we cannot ignore the fact that litigation creates an inherently adverse environment. All impacted attorneys were notified of the policy, including Davis, Saperstein and Salomon, which was notified twice,” a spokesperson for MSG Entertainment said in a statement.

Despite these concerns, Pekoske indicates that biometrics will eventually not be optional.

“We’re upgrading our camera systems all the time, upgrading our lighting systems,” Pekoske said. “(We’re) upgrading our algorithms, so that we are using the very most advanced algorithms and technology we possibly can.”

He said passengers can also choose to opt out of certain screening processes if they are uncomfortable, for now. Eventually, biometrics won’t be optional, he said.

It appears that we may be following the same tech trend as Communist China, per an investigation by the New York Times this past summer that revealed how China conducts biometric mass surveillance on a scale even broader than previously understood.

Personal data, including DNA, facial scans and voice biometrics are being collected in a push to “maximize what the state can find out about a person’s identity, activities and social connections, which could ultimately help the government maintain its authoritarian rule,” according to the Times’ analysis.

Analysts examined more than a hundred thousand government bidding documents, and found that Chinese authorities had requested access to cameras in public and private spaces, including lobbies of the Days Inn and Marriott brand hotels. A police estimate in the bidding documents put the number of facial images stored at any given time at 2.5 billion.

Documents from the city of Zhongshan, in the southwest, show the police force requesting technology that would allow facial recognition cameras to also record a voice print within a 300-foot radius. There are records of large purchases of DNA and iris-scanning technology, which has already been used to create an iris biometrics database in the Xinjiang region, where large-scale human rights violations against the Uyghur ethnic minority have attracted international condemnation.

We were promised more safety when the TSA was first created. Given how the current administration and its leading officials behave, Americans have every reason not to buy anything the government promotes.


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Ty Leslie,, but try driving to Copenhagen.. Might get wet.

I am not a jet setter, but there are occasions that I have to fly.. IIRC there was a kiosk at one airport that took your picture for authentication. so it is happening already. .That being said, airport convenience is incredibly important to older people,, people that have a real issue with long, long lines. I already signed up for the known traveler program. I guess it is too late for me.. they have my data.

nordic prince | March 21, 2023 at 11:19 am

What’s next – are they going to require a poop sample as part of their “screening process”?

It’s all bollocks.

“The Transportation Security Administration began adding facial recognition technology in airports nationwide in 2022.” This is not true, LAX had facial recognition in place in August 2021 when I took my daughter to college in Arizona and when I came back from Japan in December in 2021 DFW had the same setup and I did not even have to show my passport. So it’s been in airports longer than what is being told.

Lucifer Morningstar | March 21, 2023 at 11:36 am

How about this. We eliminate the Transportation Security Administration altogether as worthless security theater. That would reduce the “stress of travel” completely.

    My favorite story takes place right after they did their insane ‘liquids’ ban claiming it was because somebody tried to blow up a plane (in actuality it was just a scam to let crappy vendors resell bottles of water for $4 each).

    I was drinking from a clear water bottle and they demanded that I throw it away, despite the fact that I was literally drinking it in front of them. NO THATS THE RULES.

    When I got onto the plane I realized that I had my Leatherman utility tool with a 4 inch knife blade in my carryon bag.

    But GREAT job protecting the plane from that evil bottle of water, TSA morons!

Driving won’t enable anyone to avoid biometrics. Today, your EZ Pass is tracked nearly everywhere you drive and your photograph is taken at most toll stations, and often along highways. Adding facial recognition is obviously easy, if it hasn’t already been done. Trains and busses also have cameras.

Unless something dramatic happens to reduce the reach of federal agencies, all travel will be closely tracked. Right now the data is used for post facto investigation purposes, but that can easily change.

    GWB in reply to MTF. | March 21, 2023 at 12:07 pm

    It’s somewhat difficult to photograph you accurately through your windshield. The only places I know of where the photography could be individually useful are places where you still have to slow down and drive by a toll booth – EZPass places around here are all overhead.

    That doesn’t mean you’re not being watched and tracked. Not saying that in the least.

      MTF in reply to GWB. | March 21, 2023 at 1:46 pm

      I just received a photo taken on the Pa Turnpike, traveling at 80 miles per hour, where my face was clear.

    Ironclaw in reply to MTF. | March 21, 2023 at 12:34 pm

    It’s amazing how hard a time biometrics programs have when you obscure the shape of your face with sunglasses as well as using a hat.

    nordic prince in reply to MTF. | March 21, 2023 at 12:47 pm

    Don’t worry, it’s only a matter of time before all unapproved travel will be prohibited, and you will be confined to your alloted domicile in a 15-minute “smart city.”

    You’ll be in a digital prison, where you will own nothing and be happy.

I avoid flying already because it is painful and exhausting. But once in a while I need to. I have already accepted that TSA and the airlines hate me. This changes little.

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to irv. | March 21, 2023 at 12:16 pm

    I avoid flying because:

    1) I set the alarms off at TSA due to knee implants. My local airport is very decent about it.

    2) I do not trust those “safe” raise-your-hands-in-defeat scanners. I have a compromised immune system; I get enough radiation thank you. (If they are so safe, why are they banned so many places?)

    3) Ever-shortening seat pitch, and narrower seats.

    4) Lavs on many planes are now so small I barely fit. Yes, I am fat, but not nearly as fat as to be crazy fat.

    If, before I pass, I get to take another trip to Italy, I am reconciled to going business class and paying that fare.

    Do freighters still carry a few passengers?

I don’t think there’s a way to permanently prevent this. We can only delay it until the inevitable “those without the mark could neither buy nor sell.”

With harsh enough pushback, though, we can certainly delay it another generation or three. Especially if we salt the earth afterwards.

Flew earlier this month with TSA-Pre Check and a gold star on my driver’s license. Practically walked through the checkpoint (except I forgot my cell phone clip was metal, and I had an eversharp pencil in my shirt pocket.) Facial recognition is most probably going to *slow* the process for TSA Pre-Check due to false positives and not likely to increase security a bit. There’s no real increase in Big Brother here because they already have your ID before you reach the airport, including driver’s license photo. The problem is going to be when the airport computer looks at Bob Jones from Kansas and decides that he is in reality Howard Johnson from Illinois, who matches the face recognition software as 15678.7 instead of 15678.6

    nordic prince in reply to georgfelis. | March 21, 2023 at 1:48 pm

    “…not likely to increase security a bit.”

    … because it’s not really about security, and all about surveillance/data mining.

We are at the proposal stage for airports, and yet according to this article, facial recognition software has already been abused by those who have access to the information in theaters.

It won’t get better. We have already seen what political partisans do to people who contribute to election campaigns and make other disapproved purchases. The uncivil behavior of sanctimonious people with a tiny bit of power is already too well documented.

I would recommend an “opt-in” program for airports, where frequent (or infrequent) flyers can voluntarily submit their information in exchange for lowered wait times. Parts of this are already in place.

Meanwhile, we also need to have robust remedies for abuse of people using these systems.

    CommoChief in reply to Valerie. | March 21, 2023 at 6:41 pm

    Agreed as a half measure. Probably won’t even that much. The databases must be locked tight and any unauthorized use must result in long prison stretches for whatever jackass abused their authority.

    cbt in reply to Valerie. | March 23, 2023 at 11:13 am

    So the “fast track travelers” are PRE-screened and tracked in the system.
    Then the “protest group” gets even CLOSER surveillance precisely BECAUSE they AVOIDED the fast-track pre-screen process.

    Heads “they” win; tails we lose.

I already experience very little stress in traveling because I avoid airlines and airports unless I need to cross an ocean, not much of a concern since the scamdemic and it’s travel restrictions. Eventually I’m sure we’ll get back to Europe so my wife can visit her parents and the kids can spend time with their grandparents, but I don’t look forward to it. What was already a huge pain became even worse and I already abhor those flying cattle cars.

healthguyfsu | March 21, 2023 at 1:03 pm

Good thing they will have full biometric data analysis on a terrorist after they crash a plane into a building.

Most of this stuff is only really useful in post-hoc analysis and that’s only really useful for government monitoring of its own people.

The computers will run algorithms that can likely be beaten easily knowing our government. The real treasure trove is all of that juicy data.

2smartforlibs | March 21, 2023 at 1:28 pm

I don’t need big brother watching any more than it does now.

What do those private charter dotards know about the stress of traveling?

Real world – driving WA to IL twice a year we’ve found 50% of rest areas closed because DOT can’t find maintenance people – or – the dummies closed them for remodel jobs that turned indefinitely postponed during the pandemic … imagine the STRESS of seeing a “closed” sign on the rest stop you needed to use desperately … and a “next rest stop 50 miles” sign … eyes watering :'( in full-on clench mode … now that’s STRESS.

Let’s see you help that, facial recognition dotards! I hope you ALL develop prostate issues ❗

    healthguyfsu in reply to MrE. | March 21, 2023 at 1:50 pm

    I use gas stations that have quality restrooms to save time. Rest stops don’t provide gas and other decent travel goodies.

    If there’s a Bucc’ees on your route that you are in for a treat.

      Ironclaw in reply to healthguyfsu. | March 21, 2023 at 3:10 pm

      Easy solution, piss on the building.

      We do that too … but through MT, WY and SD on I-90, there’s stretches where DOT rest stops are the only option. In the north, we prefer LOVES truck stops. Another travel hassle since the lockdown … the fast food industry was hit hard with the stim payments – hard to hire people at min wage to flip burgers. About half the truck stops with in-facility fast food places were closed due to staffing. LOVES was the exception. Pilot and Sapp Bros work well for gas and restrooms.

“the TSA is trying to sell this trend by saying it would ‘lower the stress of traveling.”
Want to lower the stress of traveling? Burn your uniforms and go home.

“It’s really that extra layer of security to ensure that the ID the traveler is using is in fact authentic.”
“Now with glycerin vibrafoam!”

E Howard Hunt | March 21, 2023 at 2:42 pm

The perfect bio-screening device would detect those who are non-northern European.

A gee-whiz! solution to a non-problem.

Today’s procedure: show your ID and boarding pass (increasingly only the former is needed–they know who is getting on the planes already) and the TSA agent looks at your face and ID.

How many times a year does that cheap process fail? I’d guess fewer than 1000 times out of millions of passengers.

nordic prince | March 21, 2023 at 3:51 pm

As RFK Jr. puts it: You don’t comply your way or of tyranny.

The more people go along with this crap, the more they’ll pull this crap on us.

BierceAmbrose | March 21, 2023 at 4:16 pm

Lower the stress of travel for whom?

i know the admini-drones get all uncomfortable when people run around doing stuff on their own initiative. Seeing friends, family events, business, that one must travel to. Cooking tasty, tasty food on Gai-Gassing Stoves, because it’s tasty, easy, and you like it.

As for travelers, you wanna lower the stress of credential checks, ID verifications, lines, and delays, drop the credential checks, ID verifications, lines, and delays.

Can’t have any of that. What you do by yourself in your home is entirely our business. How do we know who you serve, if we let you off your row in the shared fields, serf? Why would you think travel in public is any less so?

Wasn’t it the Transportation Safety Administation? When did they start saying that “security” quiet part out loud? They let the universal surveillance cat past the “for your sake” fig leave long go, when Mr. “want to known everything”, former occupier of Iraq explained his domestic mission to Congress. Apparently, no difference between the citizens he works for, and people in.occupied foreign territory.

I, myself, don’t much care who travels where, when, with whom, or for what. Not to kink-shame, but if that’s their thing, maybe don’t do it in the airports and scalre the livestock. Tile-play is a thing, though it is nice when you can build a job that feeds your other tastes.

I do find myself wondering if I’m missing out. This must be a pretty hot fetish, for them to drive for it so hard.

    henrybowman in reply to BierceAmbrose. | March 21, 2023 at 8:39 pm

    “This must be a pretty hot fetish, for them to drive for it so hard.”
    The advanced classes involve leather, chains, rope, and spike heels.
    For your safety, you understand.
    (The rope is so you don’t wander off into dangerous areas.)

Steven Brizel | March 22, 2023 at 6:24 am

TSA is a major boondoggle thss as r has never apprehended a terrorist becss as use it does not engage in constitutionally permitted profiling asking Orthodox Jewish men and women to remove head coverings is not searching for potential terrorists

The government is so concerned about our security? The border is wide open. Maybe send the TSA down there.