Evaluating Digital Identity Technology

Overview

In recognition of the increased use of digital identity documents, TSA is evaluating their potential impact on aviation security and operations. 

TSA is integrating digital identity capabilities – including the acceptance of state-issued mobile driver’s licenses – at the TSA checkpoint using the Credential Authentication Technology 2 (CAT-2) system to provide for a secure and seamless method of verifying an individual’s identity.

A mobile or digital driver's license is a digital representation of the information contained on a physical ID, stored on and accessed through a mobile device (such as a smartphone).

TSA will continue to notify the public of its pilots and testing efforts through publicly issued Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs).

Digital ID and Mobile Driver’s License 

TSA will deploy CAT-2 units in early 2022 to support the phased rollout of digital IDs, including mobile driver’s licenses. During the initial stages of the rollout, TSA will only accept select mobile driver’s licenses and digital IDs from TSA PreCheck® passengers. 

TSA will post signs at checkpoints that accept mobile driver’s licenses. TSA plans to expand this effort in the coming months and will release information about additional airports, states, devices, and partners. Passengers without TSA PreCheck® status will be able to use mobile driver’s licenses at a future date.

How it Works 

To use your mobile driver’s license at a participating checkpoint, tap your mobile device against the CAT-2 digital reader or scan the QR code displayed on your mobile device’s screen. You will see an alert on your mobile device with a summary of the data being shared with TSA and will be asked to consent to send that information to TSA for identity verification purposes.

The technology verifies a passenger’s identity by authenticating the digital ID, matching the digital ID information against information provided when booking the flight, and matching the live photo captured against the photo on the digital ID. After a passenger’s identity is verified, the TSA officer will allow the passenger to proceed through the checkpoint. A TSA officer will be present to oversee and validate the verification process.

Data to be Collected

TSA will collect live photos and passenger data from digital IDs for analysis only during the evaluation periods. 

TSA will convert the information into an anonymized format, encrypt it, and transfer it for temporary analysis to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science & Technology Directorate (S&T), which will assess the effectiveness of this technology at the checkpoint. DHS will delete the data within 24 months. Outside of the evaluation periods during normal operations, each passenger’s live photo and the personally identifiable information collected from their digital ID will be overwritten when the next passenger is scanned. 

For more information, please see TSA’s PIA, DHS/TSA/PIA-051 Travel Document Checker Automation - Digital Identity Technology Pilots.