Verified Identity Pass moves to front of line

The Homeland Security Department has authorized a subsidiary of Verified Identity Pass Inc. as the first entity eligible to offer Registered Traveler services at airports nationwide.

Officials from Clear, Verified's New York subsidiary, said in a written
statement that the Transportation Security Administration notified them Nov. 24 that the company meets TSA's minimum criteria for the rollout, which is expected within several months.

Clear CEO Steven Brill said he anticipates initiating Registered Traveler services next month at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York as well as at airports in San Jose, Calif., Indianapolis and Cincinnati, and expanding to as many as 20 airports within a year.

Clear is awaiting final TSA approval for next month's deployment, Brill said in the release. "The next step," he said, "involves TSA reviewing and approving specific security plans and plans of operation at the five launching airports, a process that is under way and on track."

Registered Traveler is a program in which frequent travelers voluntarily enroll in advance their biometric and personal information in exchange for expedited passage through airport security. Verified and Lockheed Martin Corp. of Bethesda, Md., have been operating a pilot program at Orlando International Airport in Florida since June 2005.

Companies that have participated in Registered Traveler pilot projects include Unisys Corp., of Blue Bell, Pa., which operated programs at the Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Houston airports; and EDS Corp. of Plano, Texas, which operated pilot programs at Boston and Washington airports.

Lockheed Martin, systems integrator for enrollments and biometric capture at the Orlando program, will continue as a subcontractor to Verified Identity Pass for the additional airports, but only for account management, network management and operations, said spokeswoman Leslie Holoweiko. General Electric Co., which earlier this year became a partner in Verified Identity Pass, will handle enrollment.

In related news, TSA said it would charge a $28 fee to Registered Traveler participants to cover costs of security threat assessments and managing the program. Contractors operating the program also charge fees for participation.

"TSA appreciates private industry's enthusiasm for the Registered Traveler program," Kip Hawley, TSA administrator, said in a Nov. 28 news release. "Now that the government deliverables are complete, TSA is set to support the program once airports are ready to initiate it."

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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