The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is now trialing Samsung’s mobile ID at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. At select TSA checkpoints, travelers can present their digital driver’s license or state ID, hosted in the Samsung Wallet mobile app, to CAT-2 self-service kiosks, which can read the ID data via Bluetooth. The CAT-2 readers will compare the encrypted data from the mobile ID to a real-time image of the traveler’s face, and to reservation data on the traveler’s boarding pass.
Travelers who choose to take advantage of this system do not need to present their mobile credentials to a TSA agent, but that doesn’t mean the process is entirely automated. The TSA says that once a CAT-2 reader confirms a traveler’s identity, a TSA officer “will verify the match”.
The TSA says it is currently accepting the mobile IDs “for limited testing and evaluation purposes,” but that eventually passengers will be able to present their Samsung Wallet-hosted IDs at 27 participating airports. The organization seems to view Sky Harbor as an ideal testing ground; it was also the first airport at which Apple’s mobile ID could be officially accepted, starting in March of last year.
Support for a Samsung Wallet-hosted mobile ID further underscores the growing prominence of this kind of digital identity technology, and the TSA’s commitment to the ID tech innovation.
“Our Samsung partnership spotlights our commitment to expanding options for eligible passengers to use mobile driver’s licenses,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske, in a statement announcing the Samsung Wallet support. “TSA is committed to implementing new technologies that improve security effectiveness and collaborating on international, open standards that provide enhanced privacy protections, while also offering airline passengers a more convenient and efficient travel experience.”
The TSA’s statement went on to frame its overall effort to accept mobile driver’s licenses as “one of many steps” it has been taking to comply with a White House Executive Order on “Transforming Customer Experience”.
December 20, 2023 – by Alex Perala