TSA to Test Screening System

Transportation Security Administration plans to begin testing its controversial new airline passenger prescreening system by March


The Transportation Security Administration plans to begin testing its controversial new airline passenger prescreening system by March and begin phasing in full implementation this summer, a TSA spokesman said. The TSA has not decided if the phase-in will be done airport-by-airport or airline-by-airline.

Under CAPPS II, shorthand for the new computer-assisted passenger pre-screening system, travelers will add date of birth to the name, address and phone number they already provide at the time of booking. That will be crunched through databases to verify the traveler’s identity, and the identity will then be checked against terrorist watch-lists and violent offender records.

Passengers identified as suspicious will be coded yellow for additional screening. Those coded red expected to be 5 percent or less, compared with about 15 percent under the existing CAPPS program will be banned from boarding until they are questioned and cleared by law enforcement. Why is CAPPS II billed as better security if fewer people are questioned? CAPPS I checks only information such as whether the trip is one-way and the traveler paid in cash, and is prone to more false-positives than the updated system.

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