TSA to test encrypted boarding passes

Can any moron make a fake boarding pass? Some security analysts say so, and the Transportation Security Administration seems to be taking that threat seriously.

The TSA has announced that beginning this year it will test encrypted boarding passes at most of the country’s airports, with an eye to eventually making the paper boarding pass obsolete.

What exactly does this entail? The TSA says it is considering purchasing nearly 2,500 boarding pass scanners (they look like any bar code scanner), which breaks down to roughly one scanner for every airport security checkpoint in the country. At test airports, TSA workers will scan boarding passes with these scanners rather than simply comparing the name on the pass to an ID, reports USA Today.

It is the bar codes on these boarding passes that will be encrypted, making it nearly impossible, in theory, for a terrorist to forge.

This is good news for those travelers out there who rely on mobile devices. If airlines are forced to give up their paper passes for the new encrypted passes, it will usher in for good an era where boarding passes will be e-mailed to your PDA or other mobile device and all you’ll have to show at the airport is a bar code that will be scanned at security.