3-D carry-on screening coming to more airports
If tests of new advanced 3-D luggage screening devices continue to be successful, travelers may no longer have to remove their liquids or laptops at airport security checkpoints according to officials at the Transportation Security Administration. The TSA has been using 3-D imaging to screen checked bags for several years, but until recently the scanners had been too large and heavy to use at security checkpoints for carry-on luggage. The TSA began testing new smaller devices at security checkpoints in Boston and Phoenix with New York’s JFK’s Terminal 8 to be the latest location to trial the units. The TSA said it plans to have up to 40 more new 3-D scanners in place at 15 U.S. airports by the end of this year with another 100 units planned by the end of the government’s fiscal year in 2019.
Similar 3-D scanning technology is also being tested at select security lanes at London’s Heathrow airport. The 3-D units have also been trialed at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.
Biometrics arrives at San Jose airport, expanded in Canada
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency is now using facial recognition technology to screen arriving passengers at Mineta San Jose International Airport. Officials say the biometric technology will be expanded to include passengers departing on international flights in the coming months. Passengers are photographed at passport control upon arrival and soon will be photographed in the gate area before departure. The images are instantly compared to the passport or visa photos the government already has on file. The new technology not only helps to speed up the screening process but also helps the government to better track when passengers arrive into and depart from the country. Biometric screening is also being used in a few other U.S. airports including Orlando and San Diego.
Meanwhile, Canada is expanding its biometric program. Travelers visiting Canada from Europe, the Middle East and Africa will have to provide fingerprints in addition to a photo when applying to visit, study or work. Visitors between the ages of 14 and 79 will then have their fingerprints verified by Canada Border Services at 57 ports of entry across Canada. These new biometric requirements do not apply to U.S. citizens or tourists who hold a valid electronic travel authorization (eTA). Fingerprints are valid for 10 years and must be renewed when they expire.