New facial recognition security installed at TSA in Syracuse, Albany airports

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Security checkpoints at the Syracuse Hancock and Albany International Airports might look a little different this holiday season.

In preparation for the busy Thanksgiving travel period, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has installed new “self-service” credential authentication technology units that use facial recognition technology to confirm identification.

The technology, which was installed earlier this month, confirms the validity of a traveler’s identification (ID) by matching their face with the face that appears on their ID such as a license or passport.

A TSA agent will still be monitoring the travel document checking podium, however, the technology will help enhance detection capabilities for identifying fraudulent documents at the security checkpoint.

According to TSA, the photos taken are not saved and are only used to match the person at the podium with their form of ID.

“These new units are valuable because they enhance detection capabilities for identifying fraudulent IDs such as driver’s licenses and passports at a checkpoint and it increases efficiency by automatically verifying a passenger’s identification,” said Bart R. Johnson, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Upstate New York. “We are fortunate to have these units installed ahead of the busy holiday travel period. This helps ensure that we know who is boarding flights. The system also confirms the passenger’s flight status by verifying that the individual is ticketed to fly out of that airport on that day.”

These “self-service” units work to reduce touchpoints and speed the process through the security checkpoint. However, even with TSA’s use of these units, travelers still need to check in with their airline in advance and bring their boarding pass to their gate to show the airline representative before boarding their flight.

“The professional and dedicated workforce at TSA remains committed to ensuring the safety and security of those traveling from Syracuse and all airports in Upstate New York,” Johnson said. “During the Thanksgiving holiday, we expect a surge of travelers at the airport and strongly encourage travelers to give themselves ample time to get through the TSA security checkpoint so they can safely make their scheduled flights.”

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