The Absence of Government

By Larry Barrett  |  Posted 2002-10-11 Print this article Print

Despite post-9/11 promises, airport security is still experiencing turbulence.


The Absence of Government Recommendations

"The real problem has been the TSA's inability to come up with any recommendations," says Robert Goodwin, vice president of global industries at technology consulting firm Gartner Inc. "It's terribly disappointing the TSA hasn't taken a leadership role for getting biometric technology into the airports. The vendors are sitting on the sidelines just salivating to get in there."

Cost is at the root of it. Until or unless there's a mandate, airlines aren't going to shell out the estimated $300,000 to $750,000 each biometric system costs, says United Airlines spokesman Jeff Green.

"At this point, we're looking into ways to make travel more convenient for our passengers," he says. "We haven't been told what the new security standards are or should be in terms of identifying passengers. Until we get some direction, we're going to take a wait-and-see approach."

Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion International Airport was among the first to implement biometric devices not only to identify and cull potential terrorists but also to speed travelers through the screening process. In October 2001, Recognition Systems of Campbell, Calif., using its HandReaders technology in partnership with Electronic Data Systems, developed an automated inspection system for 21 kiosks throughout the airport. The system, dubbed Express EntrySM, measures the size and shape of a traveler's hand and then compares the measurements to a template stored in the system's database.

Senior Writer
Larry, of San Carlos, Calif., was a senior writer and editor at CNet, writing analysis, breaking news and opinion stories. He was technology reporter at the San Jose Business Journal from 1996-1997. He graduated with a B.A. from San Jose State University where he was also executive editor of the daily student newspaper.

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