The International Biometrics & Identification Association (IBIA) questions the Transportation Security Administration’s use of biographic data solutions in its attempt to expand the PreCheck travel-screening program. The TSA is working on re-issuing its Request for Proposal and the IBIA believes that biometrics should remain at the core of the PreCheck vetting procedure.
In December, the TSA issued n proposal for PreCheck expansion that sought third-party vendors that would “pre-enroll” passengers into the program. TSA’s proposal would have authorized private vendors to use commercial data and proprietary algorithms to create a “risk-score” for passengers to determine eligibility.
The FBI biometric-based background check has been a key part of TSA’s security threat assessment approach for the program. With the new proposal, TSA is going with a system that performs less-reliable, name-based background checks, as well as amass personal information from social media, location information, retail purchase history, and blog posts.
“This new practice lacks the necessary accuracy to identify security risks and poses a serious threat to applicant privacy, noting that the current system of biometric-based FBI criminal history records checks has a true match rate on fingerprints of 98.6%, whereas the performance of these algorithms varies greatly and remains largely unproven on such a mass scale,” according to Tovah LaDier, IBIA’s managing director.
The TSA’s proposed reliance on commercial data and proprietary risk-scoring algorithms also poses a threat to privacy. Data on the Internet contains many inaccuracies and personal biographic data, addresses, driver license numbers, and credit card numbers that would be collected, have real value to cybercriminals and fraudsters and would leave private vendors vulnerable to hacks and incidents of identity theft.
The IBIA would like the TSA to reconsider its plan to rely on private company partnerships aiming to use biographic data in the PreCheck application process and include biometrics for background checks and identification.