TSA PreCheck program scrutinized
The Transportation Security Administration’s passenger pre-approval, pre-screening program—recently heralded by the International Air Transport Association as something in the air travel industry that works—has come under scrutiny.
Flaws in the system allow participants to know in advance “whether they will be subject to certain security measures, and perhaps even permit them to modify the designated measures,” a report in The Washington Post said.
Boarding pass barcodes, which passengers can get 24 hours before arriving at the airport, contain information on the depth of security screening a passenger is set to receive, the Post said.
Even if passengers have paid for and are fully approved by PreCheck, the TSA’s pre-screening program, they can still be subjected to full security screening.
John Butler, an aviation blogger, said information from the boarding-pass bar codes is unencrypted and therefore can be read using a smartphone or similar device to see whether the passenger would pass through full security screening or the expedited process, the newspaper said.
“Butler’s findings are supported by information in a technical specification publicly available on the website of the International Air Transport Association, and some details about the vulnerability appear to have circulated in aviation chat forums since at least July,” the Post reported.
The TSA declined to comment to the Post.