recommended reading

TSA seeks technology to make screening easier on travelers

Erik S. Lesser/AP

This story was updated to include a comment from TSA.

The Transportation Security Administration is scanning the private sector for technology to improve the way it searches for and responds to threats at the nation’s airports, according to solicitation documents posted Monday.

In addition to improving security, TSA is interested in technology that will “increase passenger comfort throughout the screening process,” the request for information states.

That could be an indication the agency is looking for alternatives to full body imaging scanners or physical pat downs at many airports. Lawmakers and interest groups have argued those techniques involve invasions of privacy.

TSA previously committed to making the images transmitted by its body scanners less invasive by masking parts of them by mid-2012. TSA has installed 730 of those systems, which substitute generic body outlines for the outlines of the actual human body, at 190 airports so far, agency spokesman David Castelveter said.

The RFI is constructed broadly to allow for responses dealing with passenger screening, checked luggage screening, overall airport monitoring, or a combination of all three. Issuing an RFI rather than a request for quotation means the agency may significantly change what it’s seeking before any acquisition or may not purchase any new technology at all.

Industry suggestions for new or upgraded screening technology must fit into the current physical parameters of TSA airport checkpoints and can’t change the agency’s airport staffing procedures, the RFI states. The technology also must not inhibit TSA’s ability to meet its current processing times of about nine seconds per passenger screening and must be intuitive enough that they don’t require new “passenger training,” the documents state.

Responses are due Sept. 5 for technology related to baggage screening and by Sept. 17 for technology associated with passenger screening.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.