Airports Selected for FBI RapBack Pilots

Biometrics, Law Enforcement, Mug Shot, PrivacyDallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Boston Logan International Airport are going to be the testing grounds for the FBI’s RapBack service. According to a press release, the aim of these deployments is to establish a “proof of concept” for the system.

FBI RapBack is a component of the bureau’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) program, an ambitious system for a range of digital identity records including biometric data such as fingerprint scans. RapBack is designed to match the biometric data of employees – particularly those working in roles of public trust as in the case of airport staff – against criminal databases in order to provide real-time monitoring of their criminal histories.

While deployments of such biometric identification systems have ignited serious privacy concerns among public employees elsewhere in America – as in the San Francisco city workers who protested against the implementation biometric time tracking systems in two city museums – the NGI does take measures to compartmentalize how such information is stored and shared, which could help to deflect such issues.

The selection of the two airports for the trial phase was made by the TSA Office of Intelligence and Analysis Program Management division, and may be seen as a further demonstration of the TSA’s apparently growing interest in biometric security; the organization has also been exploring biometric identification of pre-screened passengers via its TSA PreCheck program.

The pilot projects are slated to begin by the end of the year.

July 6, 2015 – by Alex Perala