Journal of Air Law and Commerce


In the last two decades, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has implemented a variety of new screening and identity verification methods in U.S. airports through its various agencies such as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). In particular, biometric technology has become a focal point of aviation security advances. TSA, CBP, and even private companies have started using fingerprint, iris, and facial scans to verify travelers’ identities, not only to enhance security but also to improve the travel experience.

This Comment examines how DHS, its agencies, and private companies are using biometric technology for aviation security. It then considers the most common privacy concerns raised by the expanded use of biometric technology: data breaches, function creep, and data sharing. As biometric technology is new and continually developing, the scope and extent of privacy threats cannot be completely quantified. However, a combination of new legislation, technological solutions, and independent oversight may be an effective way to protect both biometric data and traveler privacy while maintaining the benefits of enhanced security.