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CLEAR: Biometrics at the Airport

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 56 Issue: 6 Dated: June 2008 Pages: 28-30
Thomas M. Manson
Date Published
June 2008
3 pages
This article describes the CLEAR program, which is offered by Verified Identity Pass in partnership with Lockheed Martin (LM) as a means of providing background screening and biometric data that clears airline passengers to move more quickly through the security process.
The CLEAR process begins online. After creating an account similar to any other subscription service (contract information and applicant credit card information for billing), the applicant completes the background information required by the Federal Transportation Service Administration (TSA) in conducting a security threat assessment. The next step in the process occurs at the airport at a CLEAR kiosk. At the CLEAR kiosk, document-authentication technology is applied to reduce that chance of fraudulent documents being used to establish a link between the person who completed the online process and the person standing at the kiosk. Once identity has been verified, biometric data are collected, including a facial picture, an iris scan of both eyes, and all 10 fingerprints. All biometrics are captured under the requirements of international standards. CLEAR personnel assist customers in choosing a clear biometric for later verification matching. Once the information is secure and encrypted, it is sent to a LM-secured hosting facility. From there, it is sent to the TSA for a security threat assessment. If the customer is approved for the program, a subset of the information is put on the CLEAR card. The subset consists of four high-quality fingerprint templates, two polar iris images, the customer’s picture, and his/her legal name. Once the customer receives his/her CLEAR card, it can be used at any Registered Traveler lane of a participating airport, which currently numbers 15. When a card is presented at an airport, it is also evaluated by TSA in order to ensure it has not been revoked.