The Clear registered-travel program will begin using facial-recognition technology at its airport security lanes over the course of 2024.
The technology, which Clear is calling NetGen Identity+, will replace the company’s current biometric identification system, which relies on iris and fingerprint checks.
The changeover will take place as Clear has come under political fire following the revelation of three security breaches. In June, the TSA said that it would eventually require Clear members to present identification at airport checkpoints in which the TSA has installed new ID authentication technology, which verifies a passenger’s identity and flight itinerary with an ID only.
Mandating ID checks upon Clear members would be a blow to the biometrics company, which sells $189 annual memberships with the promise that members won’t wait in line to show identification.
But in a statement over the summer, Clear said that it had been developing a workaround in cooperation with TSA since 2020 that would digitally transmit all Clear members’ identifying information to TSA hardware.
A Clear spokeswoman said Monday that NextGen Identity+ is the result of that collaboration. The new ID verification system will validate identity documents back to the issuing source, she said.
On its website, Clear said that the new technology will provide a faster experience for members by eliminating the need for them to stop at a kiosk for the ID check.
“Our vision is to keep you moving through the Clear lane where you don’t break stride,” the website says.
For the nearly 19 million existing Clear members, the conversion to the new system will require that they undergo a one-time identity authentication. To do so, members will be prompted by email beginning Nov. 30 to check in with a Clear staffer next time they fly. There, they’ll present a state ID, driver’s license or passport and pose for an updated photo at a Clear enrollment kiosk.
The conversion will be free of charge.
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