TSA's facial recognition technology streamlines security process at airports

In an effort to streamline the security checkout process at over a dozen airports across the nation, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has implemented its Credential Authentication Technology 2, or CAT-2 machine. 

The use of this machine is aimed at increasing efficiency and reducing wait times for travelers. The CAT-2 machine uses a three-step process that involves facial recognition for passengers at the security line. 

"It’s more effective security as we’ve tested it extensively. Then, it’s also faster as it takes a matter of seconds to process," said Reggie Stephens, the TSA Federal Security Director for Michigan.

At the McNamara Terminal of the Detroit Metro Airport, passengers can find CAT-2 machines at three different locations. 

The machines have received positive feedback from travelers. However, critics have voiced concerns over facial recognition technology and privacy.

"TSA is committed to protecting the privacy of the traveling public. So, those photos, any data, those are not stored on that equipment at all." Stephens said.

As the number of travelers increases, there has been an increase in prohibited items, particularly firearms. TSA has collected 50 firearms at Metro Airport this year, which is half of last year’s total. 

"If you are traveling with a firearm, this is the correct way to travel if you’re going to transport check luggage. A hard-sided case… it must be sealed, and it must be declared with the airlines." Stephens said.

If a TSA agent discovers the firearm, police will be notified, and a fine may be incurred.