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New Airport Security System to be Installed in January

November 7, 2003

New Airport Security System to be Installed in January
November 7, 2003 – The Department of Homeland Security unveiled new fingerprinting and photo equipment, which will allow inspectors to check identities of visitors against those on terrorist watch lists. The equipment will be installed at 115 airports and 14 seaports to check identities of millions of foreign visitors, according to a recent report from

Travel industry groups have voiced concern that the system, which goes into use January 5, could hurt the industry. Members of the Travel Industry Association of America met with the Department of Homeland Security about the new system Tuesday.

A General Accounting Office report issued last month called the system "a very risky endeavor" with daunting goals, likely high costs and details that had yet to be worked out. The GAO said the system could lead to long lines at ports of entry. But the Department of Homeland Security contends that it will add only a few minutes to the inspection of a traveler while significantly enhancing national security.

The system consists of a small box that digitally scans fingerprints and a spherical computer camera that snaps pictures. It will be used for the estimated 24 million foreigners traveling on tourist, business and student visas who enter through an airport or seaport. For more information, visit

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