Tags: Registered | Traveler | Program | Worries | Privacy | Advocates

Registered Traveler Program Worries Privacy Advocates

Thursday, 18 August 2005 12:00 AM

The federal government views Registered Traveler as a way to move people across borders and into federal buildings, pipeline facilities and other sites.

The biometric ID card stores an array of data including a digital fingerprint and iris image. A Registered Traveler slides the card into a security kiosk and presses a finger on a print reader or looks at an iris scanner to verify the cardholder's identity.

Registered Traveler is now being tested in six airports. It essentially creates two classes of people at security – those with the ID card who are presumed to be safe, and those who are unknown and require more scrutiny from security personnel.

But the two-tiered system raises the possibility of long lines and more intense scrutiny for those who don't have the ID card.

"It's a way of fundamentally changing our culture by making people suspect if they don't willingly give up their privacy" and apply for a card, said American Civil Liberties Union legislative counsel Tim Sparapani.

"Regular people will become suspect."

The debate is heating up as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) prepares to expand the Registered Traveler program to several more airports this year.

Down the road, biometric IDs cards could also be used away from the airport. In May, Microsoft and biometric card maker Saflink discussed using the cards at retail outlets to validate credit card purchases in place of a signature, USA Today reports.

In July, Orlando International Airport became the sixth airport to offer the Registered Traveler program – and the first to run its own program, rather than have it operated by the TSA.

Still, aviation analyst Robert Mann calls Registered Traveler "inherently a government program."

And Christopher Bidwell, security director at the airline trade group Air Transport Association, said that right now the program isn't working the way it was originally designed.

Registered Travelers go through airport security like everyone else, he explained. The only difference is that they aren't selected at random or through profiling for "secondary screening" that includes pat-downs.

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The federal government views Registered Traveler as a way to move people across borders and into federal buildings, pipeline facilities and other sites. The biometric ID card stores an array of data including a digital fingerprint and iris image. A Registered Traveler...
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2005-00-18
Thursday, 18 August 2005 12:00 AM
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