Scanners to speed up airport check-in

Iris- and fingerprint-scanning may leave frequent flyers without one of life's great joys: a rubber-gloved stranger sifting through your unmentionables. The Department of Homeland Security has approved a program, optional to all U.S. airports after May, treating travelers to faster processing through airport security. Members — approval requires an extensive background check — enter their gate by swiping a card storing their biometric data, either a fingerprint or iris scan. That data is then matched to a fingerprint or iris scan done on the spot. The program is being tested at an airport in Orlando, Florida, and according to The Seattle Times, the wait to go through security has been cut down from an average of 25 minutes to 4 for the more than 12,500 participants. Pending approval from the Canadian government, Toronto's Pearson International Airport may also adopt the technology to cut down check-in times. A Canuck adoption could mean the program will go international — a particularly enticing convenience if a U.S.-issued card is valid abroad, but that detail is still to be determined. Privacy has been the main cause for concern, with travelers nervous about submitting biometric data. The government, however, believes the program will tighten airport security by weeding out travelers that don't pose a threat.