John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images
Cailey Rizzo
June 15, 2017

The TSA started testing out new technology that allows agents to identify travelers by their fingerprints this week.

At PreCheck security lanes in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta and Denver International airports, travelers will see a new machine that allows approved passengers to use their fingerprints as both a boarding pass and a form of identification.

The machine, called biometric authentication technology (BAT), scans passengers’ fingerprints and matches them with fingerprints already on file to verify identity. Once the machine makes a match between the passenger and data in the system, passengers are free to pass through security and go straight to their gate.

At the moment, the program is voluntary and passengers who choose to pass through the new BAT system will still have to provide a form of ID and their boarding pass. But, according to the TSA, one day the technology could render paper boarding passes obsolete.

PreCheck passengers who have not supplied the TSA with their fingerprints are still free to try out the machine as it will provide the organization with additional testing data.

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“TSA looks at technologies and intelligence capabilities that allow us to analyze and secure the travel environment, passengers and their property,” Steve Karoly, of the TSA’s Office of Requirements and Capabilities Analysis, said in a statement. “Through these and other technology demonstrations, we are looking to reinvent and enhance security effectiveness to meet the evolving threat and ensure that passengers get to their destinations safely.”

The program is currently in pilot testing at these two airports but if successful TSA may choose to expand the program to other locations.

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