Risk
8/15/2012
05:50 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

TSA Researches Avatars For Airport Security Checkpoints

Agency explores new way to process hundreds of millions of travelers that pass through its security checkpoints each year: helpful, multilingual avatars.

Defense Robots: Fast, Flexible, And Tough
Defense Robots: Fast, Flexible, And Tough
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
More than 375 million air travelers have gone through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints so far this year. The agency is exploring a new way of handling such a crowd: helpful, multilingual avatars.

TSA, part of the Department of Homeland Security, has issued a request for information for a "hologram imaging, computer-generated imagery and video projection" system. The system would be used "to assist passengers in navigating through security checkpoints as efficiently as possible," according to the RFI, which was posted on FedBizOpps.gov earlier this month.

The agency is looking for information on technology able to "speak" in multiple languages, including English and Spanish. The system should capture the attention of travelers, be easy to understand, and "be courteous when communicating to the traveling public," according to the RFI.

The job of these virtual TSA agents would include informing passengers of items not allowed on airplanes, such as firearms, sharp objects, and liquid containers of more than a few ounces. The RFI stipulates that the system not emit anything harmful, such as radiation, or interfere with existing checkpoint systems.

[ Read DARPA Challenge Seeks Robots To Drive Into Disasters. ]

TSA is asking vendors to provide information on products that are available or in development that could fit its needs.

Avatars, some in the shape of a person with hologram imaging projected onto them, are showing up in new places. At the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas in July, at least one vendor used a life-size avatar at its booth. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has begun using an avatar on a kiosk at a border crossing in southern Arizona to interview travelers in advance of interacting with real-life CBP officers, according to Scientific American.

Digital TSA agents are the latest in a series of technologies to be introduced or tested by TSA, which came under criticism for its use of body-scanning technology that some people considered an invasion of privacy.

Earlier this year, the agency began testing a new system that verifies an air traveler's identity by matching photo IDs to boarding passes and ensures that boarding passes are authentic.

Separately, TSA issued a request for proposals, valued at $3 million, to purchase 1,000 Macs and 1,000 iPhones, iPads, and iPods, which it planned to use for a variety of purposes, including developing mobile applications.

Contributing writer Dan Taylor is managing editor of Inside the Navy.

InformationWeek Government's GovCloud 2012 is a day-long event where IT professionals in federal, state, and local government will develop a deeper understanding of the options available today. IT leaders in government and other experts will share best practices and their advice on how to make the right choices. Join us for this insightful gathering of government IT executives to hear firsthand about the challenges and opportunities of cloud computing. It happens in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 17.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
DataBass
50%
50%
DataBass,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/16/2012 | 8:22:58 PM
re: TSA Researches Avatars For Airport Security Checkpoints
Something like what Dr. Floyd used upon entry to Space Station One in '2001: a space odyssey' but with more personal questions?
Rubberman
50%
50%
Rubberman,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/31/2012 | 1:06:09 AM
re: TSA Researches Avatars For Airport Security Checkpoints
Ah, the TSA - wasting more of our tax dollars I see! They want Star Trek tech, but don't have a clue how the Internet works...
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Partner Perspectives
What's This?
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-4594
Published: 2014-10-25
The Payment for Webform module 7.x-1.x before 7.x-1.5 for Drupal does not restrict access by anonymous users, which allows remote anonymous users to use the payment of other anonymous users when submitting a form that requires payment.

CVE-2014-0476
Published: 2014-10-25
The slapper function in chkrootkit before 0.50 does not properly quote file paths, which allows local users to execute arbitrary code via a Trojan horse executable. NOTE: this is only a vulnerability when /tmp is not mounted with the noexec option.

CVE-2014-1927
Published: 2014-10-25
The shell_quote function in python-gnupg 0.3.5 does not properly quote strings, which allows context-dependent attackers to execute arbitrary code via shell metacharacters in unspecified vectors, as demonstrated using "$(" command-substitution sequences, a different vulnerability than CVE-2014-1928....

CVE-2014-1928
Published: 2014-10-25
The shell_quote function in python-gnupg 0.3.5 does not properly escape characters, which allows context-dependent attackers to execute arbitrary code via shell metacharacters in unspecified vectors, as demonstrated using "\" (backslash) characters to form multi-command sequences, a different vulner...

CVE-2014-1929
Published: 2014-10-25
python-gnupg 0.3.5 and 0.3.6 allows context-dependent attackers to have an unspecified impact via vectors related to "option injection through positional arguments." NOTE: this vulnerability exists because of an incomplete fix for CVE-2013-7323.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.