TSA deploys new technology at Honolulu airport

May 31, 2023 CTY Honolulu Star-Advertiser photo by Craig T. Kojima/CKOJIMA@ STARADVERTISER.COM TSO Shawn Ikeda checking traveler’s documents. TSA is continuing to modernize airport checkpoints, enhance security effectiveness and efficiency and improve the passenger experience,

The Transportation Security Administration has been investing in new technology to screen travelers and their personal property in the security checkpoints at Hawaii airports with the goal of enhancing security and improving screening efficiency, which comes in handy as the traditional summer rush of travelers begins.

TSA at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport now has four next-generation Credential Authentication Technology (CAT-2 ) units in the security checkpoints, which became operational in mid-May. In addition to comparing facial features of a traveler for identity verification purposes, the units are able to accept mobile driver’s licenses, which are an option for drivers in Arizona, Maryland, Colorado, Utah and Georgia.


TSA spokesperson Lorie Dan ­kers, who gave the Honolulu Star-Advertiser a tour of TSA’s new technology Wednesday, said travelers can put away their boarding passes for CAT-2 and the earlier Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) machines that TSA already had been deploying in Hawaii.

She said during CAT a photo identification is scanned into a reader that is linked to a Secure Flight Database so it confirms the authenticity of a passenger’s identification credentials, along with their flight details and pre-screening status (such as TSA PreCheck), all without a boarding pass. Dankers said CAT improves a TSA officer’s ability to authenticate a guest’s photo identification and makes it easier to spot inconsistencies associated with fraudulent travel documents.

She said the CAT-2, which is being tested at 25 airports across the nation including Honolulu, adds facial matching capabilities to verify the identify and flight information of travelers.

“It’s controversial because some people don’t like facial matching technologies,” Dankers said. “TSA is testing this technology and we continue to evaluate it. But we want people to know … that the images are never stored. There is no database of people who are coming to travel today.”

While the Honolulu airport is one of the places where TSA is conducting biometric operational assessments, participation in these assessments is entirely voluntary, she said.

In addition, TSA also is working on improving how it screens travelers’ carry-on luggage in the airport security checkpoints across Hawaii. Dankers said. TSA installed Computed Tomography X-ray scanners at five Hawaii airports during the pandemic. There is one unit each at the Honolulu airport; Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole, Hawaii island ; and Hilo International Airport. There are two units at Kahului Airport and four at Lihue Airport.

Dankers said CT units give TSA officers the ability to review a 3D image of passengers’ bags and reduce the need to physically search a bag’s contents. Passengers screened in security lanes with CT units do not need to remove their TSA-compliant liquids or laptops, but they must place every carry-on item, including bags, into a bin for screening.

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