Saflink and Johnson Controls to challenge Verified Identity Pass

Thursday, December 29, 2005

BELLVUE, Wa.--Currently, Verified Identity Pass is the only company expediting security checks in airports. That's soon to change. Saflink, a provider of access control and identity assurance solutions, announced this week a partnership with Johnson Controls, Microsoft, Expedia Corporate Travel, and ID Technology Partners to provide the Registered Traveler program in participating airports. This will attempt to one-up Verified by not only expediting check-ins through a biometrically secured identity card registered with the Transportation Security Administration, but also adding travel-related benefits and even a credit component through a soon-to-be-named credit partner.
Saflink chief marketing officer Tim Wudi said he's hoping for a June/July roll-out date for the program, but said it depends on the TSA making certain policy decisions. For instance, "Right now it's unclear to us and to others how we would go about enrolling people in the background checks," said Wudi. The TSA needs to decide how to accept applications, where to store the information and how to reply in the affirmative or negative about applicants to the program. Wudi said the current Verified program has largely been created as it went along, but that TSA says a large national competitive atmosphere could not be supported by the current system.
To join Registered Traveler, frequent flyers, likely those who fly at least seven times per year, will provide the TSA with personal information that will be combined with biometric information for identity assurance that will accelerate the security process at participating airports. Saflink, as project organizer, plans to offer other travel benefits, such as discounts on travel expenses and premium parking spots, with participation in the program. Later, it hopes to add further incentives, such as identity-theft and credit fraud protection, to the program. Saflink expects participation in the program to require an annual fee of under $100.

See the February issue of Security Systems News for further comment on the program from Saflink and Johnson Controls, including details on the infrastructure.