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TSA Tests Automated ID Authentication 190

CowboyRobot writes "Last year, a Nigerian man boarded a plane from N.Y. to L.A. using an invalid ID and a boarding pass issued to another person. A week later he was caught again with 10 expired boarding passes. In response to this and similar events, the Transportation Security Administration has begun testing a new system at Washington's Dulles International Airport that verifies an air traveler's identity by matching photo IDs to boarding passes and ensures that boarding passes are authentic. The test will soon be expanded to Houston and Puerto Rico."
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TSA Tests Automated ID Authentication

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  • Spotted at SEA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 4pins ( 858270 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @07:57PM (#39766567) Homepage

    I took four flights over the last week. Monday I left SEA and I did not notice anything new. Friday I flew out of SEA again and the security guard took my boarding pass, scanned it, my name came up on the readout, he then did the usual comparisons against my ID and let me through. I gestured at the scanner and said, "That is not a trick I have seen before," there was glint in his eye and a small smile but no audible reply.

    If you are still traveling on other peoples return flights (when the buy a round trip), it is time to stop!

  • Re:Spotted at SEA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 22, 2012 @08:27PM (#39766711)

    Just buy and refund another ticket in your own name, or get a lounge pass. Go through security with that. Then fly on the other one.

    Checking names has nothing to do with limiting the introduction of weapons, incendiaries or explosives. It's payoff, in the form of revenue protection, to prevent the airlines from complaining about the TSA.

  • by isilrion ( 814117 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @09:56PM (#39767081)

    Really, it's quite simple to follow this rule. What does your ID say? Use that information. Problem solved.

    Unfortunately, it isn't nearly that easy. I have two first names, and two last names. My official document lists the four words (I've seen people with more than 4). A some airline systems are just not prepared to deal with those very long strings with spaces in the middle. Checking in with Air France, for instance, is a pain, because even if I go buy my ticket with my passport in hand to show them the exact spelling, they still truncate my names, my last names, and remove the spaces. So I've easily had to spend 30 mins at the check in counter while they try to find what combination they used. Needless to say, I avoid Air France, but other airlines aren't much better: at least Air Canada and WestJet insist on deleting the spaces from my name(s). I can tell you that I have never flown with a ticket that shows my exact name (the one in my passport and the one I give when buying it).

    So no, its not nearly as easy as just using the same name everywhere... most of the places I visit wont let me use my full name! (But thank you implying that it's my fault)

  • Re:What a waste! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @10:12PM (#39767131)

    it is one of the very few things the TSA has done or is doing that makes sense

    Why should you need to present ID to fly? I'm 45 - I remember flying in the 80s to a student conference using the ticket of a buddy who couldn't go. (I also had a TRS-80 Model 1 in my checked luggage, but that's a different tale...)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 22, 2012 @11:04PM (#39767361)
    I have a simple short English name. No funny symbols No hyphens. I had trouble on a flight to Germany because I had a PhD. Delta Skymiles has a "title" field on your profile. They use this nicely and discretely UNTIL you book a title. Then there merge the title string with my last name so I become LASTNAME PhD which does not match my passport or drivers license. Also I had a bad birthdate put on my passport once when it was renewed. I didn't notice that until the customs agent on the return trip said Happy Birthday to me and I was confused. Luckily that wasn't noticed in a way that mattered.
  • Re:a first (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Monday April 23, 2012 @01:10AM (#39767861) Journal

    Does that mean they shouldn't have rights? I hate racists, but I would still defend their right to free speech.

    Rand would not support unions' rights.
    She would actively oppose their existence.

    And she thought Communist ideology was evil.
    Like... her whole ideology was formed as a counterpoint to Soviet communisim.
    I'm not sure where I was going with that point, but I doubt she'd have kicked up much of a fuss if anyone collectively went after the communists.

    The moral of this story is twofold:
    1. Randian philosophy isn't very useful as a governing ideology and
    2: you shouldn't mix your aphorisms.

  • Re:What a waste! (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2012 @01:12AM (#39767867)

    The TSA aren't needed at all.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2012 @03:47AM (#39768355)

    His passport isn't the problem. The problem is airline computer software which has been programmed with very short strings for names. My full name (as written in my passport) is 26 characters, and I have had airline tickets with my name truncated.

  • Re:a first (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JWSmythe ( 446288 ) <jwsmythe@jws[ ] ['myt' in gap]> on Monday April 23, 2012 @04:35AM (#39768507) Homepage Journal

        Did you see the price tag on it??

        I never understood why they didn't tie in the TSA checkpoint with state DMV and ICE.

    Does the photo on the ID handed to you look like the photo on the screen? Yes/No

    Does the name on the ID handed to you match the name on the screen? Yes/No

    Does the name on the boarding pass match the name on the ID? Yes/No

    Does the airline ticketing system information match the boarding pass as provided? Yes/No

    If any questions were answered with a "No", separate the person for further evaluation.

    Years ago, someone demonstrated that they could print up first class boarding passes to get through the TSA checkpoint in the preferred travelers line. It didn't do any good getting on a plane, but it got them into the secure area with no hassles. The TSA has no method for checking that a boarding pass is legitimate. Right in the airport. Where every ticket agent has access to the information already. {sigh}

    All US states now have photographs on their drivers license. 13 states allow for an exemption due to religious beliefs.

    Foreign nationals entering the US have to show their passport. Recording the ID at the checkpoint is trivial, and is probably being done already.

    So, if you plan to get on a plane, you probably have a photo on file, that can be retrieved electronically.

    I found out that my state not only has my most recent photo on file, but particular departments can get every drivers license photo I've ever had electronically and virtually instantaneously. That is, it took longer to type my name, than for my pictures to load. I would have said BS, but they were kind enough to turn the screen so I could see it. Our licenses for the last few years have printed. They had photos from years ago where the license was hand typed and laminated with a photo in it.

    I don't quite understand how all federal law enforcement departments don't already have access to this information, other than the fact that our entire country is a clusterfuck of bureaucracy. They've had over a decade to fight it out, where it shouldn't have taken more than a few months to agree upon the terms, and maybe another year to implement.

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.