CVG rolling out state-of-the-art facial recognition scanner for Memorial Day

Kenton Hornbeck
Kenton Hornbeck
Kenton is a reporter for LINK nky. Email him at [email protected]

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The Transportation Security Administration has installed new facial recognition technology at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in anticipation of a busy Memorial Day weekend.

The Credential Authentication Technology 2.0, or CAT-2 scanners, are upgraded versions of the CAT scanners currently installed at TSA security checkpoints at CVG. In total, five CAT-2 units have been added to ticket and document checking stations at TSA pre-check lanes. This is in addition to the ten first-generation CAT scanners already in use at CVG.

“Our goal is that on the week of June 12 to have these deployed at our checkpoints for full use, but they will be dedicated in the beginning on our pre-check lanes,” TSA Assistant Federal Security Director Tom Bechtol said.

TSA officers must complete training on the new system before they can use it. According to a TSA press release, CVG TSA officials expect to use the new machines regularly after the holiday weekend.

Mindy Kershner, a spokesperson for CVG, told LINK nky approximately 150,000 people are anticipated to travel through the airport during the five-day Memorial Day period.

“We’re expecting about 18% more travelers than the previous year during Memorial Day weekend,” Kershner said.

The scanner works by comparing a traveler’s photo on their identification credential to their in-person, real-time photo. CAT-2 scanners feature a camera that can capture a real-time photo of a traveler. Once the scanner confirms the match, TSA officers can conduct a security screening without needing to exchange a boarding pass.

“It adds another layer of security because we allow our officers now to have their skills augmented through technology,” Bechtol said. “We’re just not allowing the officer to have to verify that person’s physical attributes in a very busy environment.”

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The TSA says photos captured by the CAT-2 scanners aren’t stored or used for any other immediate photo identification. Travelers who don’t want to participate in the scanner’s digital verification process can opt-out in favor of an alternate verification process.

The scanners do have mobile identification capabilities, but it will not be available because Kentucky does not have a mobile ID law.

Bechtol said CVG is one of around 20 airports assessing the CAT-2 scanner technology.

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