Airport fingerprint scanners will someday take the place of IDs, - CBS46 News

Airport fingerprint scanners will someday take the place of IDs, boarding passes

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Airport fingerprint scanner (WGCL) Airport fingerprint scanner (WGCL)

As the regular airport security lines crawl by, there's one line where hardly anyone is waiting.

Normally, the TSA has to scan your boarding pass, check your ID, and take a good look to make sure you're the same person in the picture.

But at Hartsfield-Jackson, they're experimenting with a machine that replaces all three of those things with one swipe of the hand.

One passenger trying out the machine told our camera he appreciates having one less reason to fiddle with his wallet in public because he is visually impaired.

This machine works by reading fingerprints, and without the need for pressing thumbs against glass. It scans your hand from a distance. 

"There goes all my liberties, out the door," lamented another passenger, "In order to travel conveniently, or go anywhere conveniently, you have to give it up. It's a shame."

CBS46 asked the TSA, What happens when a passenger's fingerprints aren't already on government file? That's the catch. In order to use this fancy new express lane, you have to submit your prints in advance.

After the machine allowed one woman to get through the gate, CBS46 asked how the TSA got a record of her fingerprints.

She said she had no idea.

The TSA explained this by saying the machine is still in the experimental phase, so they're not comparing the fingerprints to real records yet; they're only testing to see how well the machine can read them.

CBS46 asked if the TSA is collecting any new fingerprint records from passengers during the experiment, and they said they weren't.

Passengers are using the machine on a voluntary basis to help the TSA test the prototype. And no one is getting on a plane on just the new machine's endorsement alone. Volunteers go through a regular checkpoint afterward like everyone else.

Right now, the TSA has no prediction for when fingerprint scanners will be rolled out for regular use in airports across the country.

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