Support the news

New Detectors At Logan Will Tell You If Your ID Is REAL Or Not

A TSA officer at Boston's Logan Airport passed a fake ID through the airport’s new "credential authentication technology" [CAT] system, soliciting an ominous buzzing sound nobody wants to hear when trying to catch a flight.

TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein, left, and TSA officer James Freel demonstrate Logan Airport's new credential authentication machines. (Simón Rios/WBUR)
TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein, left, and TSA officer James Freel demonstrate Logan Airport's new credential authentication machines. (Simón Rios/WBUR)

The demonstration on Wednesday was part of a rollout of technology that will eventually be used to detect licenses without REAL ID.

Starting in October, valid driver's licenses and state IDs will no longer be accepted for use on all domestic and international flights in the U.S. Logan TSA officials encouraged flyers to be sure they get federally-compliant REAL IDs, which can be used for flights, before the change goes into effect on Oct. 1.

The $27,000 CAT machine references a database of 25,000 identification documents to detect irregularities, forgeries and fakes. To make things easier on passengers, the machine also keeps boarding passes on file, eliminating the need for flyers to show passes to TSA in security lines. (Passengers will still need the passes to board their flights, however.)

Beyond boarding commercial flights, REAL ID also will be required to enter federal buildings and nuclear plants, according to the Department of Homeland Security. 

"You want to make sure that the person who's presenting themselves up at the travel document podium is indeed the person that they are claiming to be,” said Lisa Farbstein, a TSA spokeswoman.

Farbstein said that starting in October, drivers licenses without the REAL ID mark will be rejected by the CAT machine.

Farbstein said the new authentication machines will do a better job at detecting fake IDs. (Simón Rios/WBUR)
Farbstein said the new authentication machines will do a better job at detecting fake IDs. (Simón Rios/WBUR)

"It will trigger an alert that says to the TSA officer, this license is no longer valid,” she said. "So we encourage you to get your REAL ID license sooner rather than later, if you're planning to use your license to get through a checkpoint.”

The REAL ID credential is issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles in Massachusetts, which allows online applications.

Passengers without REAL ID can use U.S. and foreign passports after the October deadline, among several other types of ID.

While the CAT system is already in place at more than 40 airports — with 25 machines at Logan — Farbstein said ultimately, they’ll be used across the country.

Related:

Simón Rios Twitter Reporter
Simón Ríos is an award-winning bilingual reporter in WBUR's newsroom.

More…

+Join the discussion
TwitterfacebookEmail

Support the news