Web

Give the Gov’t your fingerprints, and the TSA may let you keep your shoes on at the airport

tsa security measure requires electronics x rays airport check

Detailed by the New York Times recently, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has started investigating all passengers more extensively by scanning a large range of digital databases owned by a variety of organizations. While the T.S.A. hasn’t released specific details about the type of information that’s used to screen passengers, the various databases available to the organization include data such as employment information, property ownership records, car registration records, previous trip information, tax identification numbers and past transgressions with law enforcement.

Prior to this expansion, the TSA relied heavily on the Secure Flight Program; a database in which the nation’s terrorist watch list is compared to a person’s date of birth, gender, name and passport number. The organization has also offered the Pre-Check program for frequent flyers in which U.S. citizens can opt-in for a criminal background check and offer up their fingerprints for TSA records.

An advantage to submitting to this process is access to shorter security lines dedicated solely to Pre-Check passengers as well as not having to take off shoes or remove laptops and liquids from carry-on baggage. Pre-Check passengers also don’t have to walk through the full-body scanners, only though standard metal detectors. 

With access to these databases, the TSA is attempting to reduce the number of people standing in regular passenger lines by 25 percent. Basically, passengers that pass muster will be ushered into a lighter screening process. However, passengers that are deemed more of a risk by the TSA could potentially be subject to more stringent searches, perhaps even more involved than the current process. 

tsa-monitoring-security-line

Edward Hasbrouck, author of the The Practical Nomad series of travel books, has expressed concern over the effort. In an interview with the Times, Hasbrouck said “I think the best way to look at it is as a pre-crime assessment every time you fly. The default will be the highest, most intrusive level of search, and anything less will be conditioned on providing some additional information in some fashion.” Hasbrouck works as a consultant with The Identity Project, a group of privacy advocates.

After the New York Times story was published, the TSA issued a response on the organization’s official blog attempting to clarify what’s not being used to judge passengers. According to the post, the TSA is not using car registration records, employment information or the length of a passenger’s stay in a specific location. The TSA also claims that all databases accessed to research passengers are not privately owned. However, TSA representatives didn’t specifically list what information is being used to screen people prior to their flight. 

It’s clear that the TSA wants to expand the Pre-Check program as rapidly as possible to reduce traffic in security lines. According to ABC News, the TSA wants to expand the program into 350 airports around the country by the middle of 2014. Anyone interested in the Pre-Check program should be aware that fingerprints provided to the T.S.A. will be accessible to local law enforcement organizations as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to the Chicago Tribune, those fingerprints are kept on file for 75 years.

Computing

Latest SMS breach could allow hackers access to your online accounts

A new security breach that exposed more than 26 million text messages could be a huge nightmare for users relying on two-factor authentication. Many of the SMS on the database contained security codes and account reset links.
Computing

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.
Computing

Lost your router? Here's how to find its IP address to help track it down

Changing the login information for your router isn't always easy, that's why so many have that little card on the back. But in order to use it, you need to know where to go. Here's how to find the IP address of your router.
Mobile

Best iPhone 7 Plus screen protectors to shield your big, beautiful display

Cracked screens are expensive to replace. Fortunately for you, we've rounded up what's available in terms of protection for Apple's large iPhone 7 Plus. Here are the best screen protectors you can buy.
Emerging Tech

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day sale smashes online shopping records

The annual online shopping frenzy that is Singles' Day this year raked in $30.8 billion, up from $25 billion last time around. The Alibaba-organized event generates more in sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
Mobile

Apple to boost its Amazon presence with listings for iPhones, iPads, and more

Apple is about to start offering more of its kit on Amazon. The tech giant currently only has very limited listings on the shopping site, but the deal will see the arrival of the latest iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and more.
News

Zoom in on famous works through the Art Institute of Chicago’s new website

Art lovers, listen up. The Art Institute of Chicago has given its website a serious makeover with new features that let you get up close and personal with more than 50,000 artworks by famous (and not so famous) artists.
Computing

If you've lost a software key, these handy tools can find it for you

Missing product keys getting you down? We've chosen some of the best software license and product key finders in existence, so you can locate and document your precious keys on your Windows or MacOS machine.
Computing

Will Chrome remain our favorite web browser with the arrival of newest version?

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options available. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most users.
Computing

Over a million veterans now eligible for Comcast’s Internet Essentials program

Comcast's low-cost Internet Essentials program, which provides internet access for just $10 per month, has expanded to include U.S. veterans. One million veterans now qualify for the service.
Computing

Google’s Squoosh will get an image web-ready with in-browser compression

Google's latest web app development is an image editing and compression tool, Squoosh. In just a few clicks, it can take a huge image and make it much lighter and web-friendly, all in your browser.
Computing

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Social Media

‘Superwoman’ YouTuber Lilly Singh taking a break for her mental health

Claiming to be "mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted," popular YouTuber Lilly Singh has told her millions of fans she's taking a break from making videos in order to recuperate.
Smart Home

Amazon has a huge team dedicated to enhancing Alexa and Echo

An Amazon executive on Tuesday, November 13 revealed the huge size of the team that's tasked with developing the Echo, the company's smart speaker, and Alexa, the digital assistant that powers it.