"We would define a photograph in the category of a biometric,'' said Steve Lott, spokesman for the Air Transport Association, which is collecting the pilot data from airlines and making it available to the TSA. "It's certainly not to the degree of an iris scan or a fingerprint, but we would say a photo can serve as a clear identifier of a person in combination with the information in the database."There's a lot going on here. If they can't make the system work better for a very small fraction of all air travelers, the ultimate frequent flyers, there is little hope for an improved process for ordinary air travelers.
The exclusion of concrete biometric validation, however, concerns some lawmakers.
But biometric ID validation can be implemented at approximately the same cost as less-secure methods, according to officials at a company that was involved in testing in 2008 with Southwest Airlines pilots at Baltimore Washington International Airport.