EDS Airline Security Offerings Take Flight

Electronic Data Systems Corp. today launched a suite of integrated security offerings for airlines and airports around the globe.

Electronic Data Systems Corp. today launched a suite of integrated security offerings for airlines and airports around the globe.

The Plano, Texas, services firm used the sprawling venue of Comdex in Las Vegas to highlight several new security and privacy offerings and establish itself as a leader in those areas.

The suite of services address passenger security, airline and airport personnel and the security of airport facilities.

The services blend a mix of technologies together, including biometrics, smart cards and complex data management to help clients better secure air travel.

"Since Sept. 11, weve responded with the physical pieces of security. Now we need to step to the next level … to put in place an IT infrastructure to enhance the safety of travelers," said Jim Dullum, president of EDS Global Transportation Industry Group in Las Vegas.

The "key elements of passenger security" include a central database that allows airlines to screen passengers from the time they make a reservation, biometric technology to identify and move known travelers through the security process, and other technologies to better handle unknown travelers, said Dullum.

Topping the list of offerings in the suite is a Passenger Risk Scoring System, designed to alert authorities when a potentially threatening passenger seeks to buy a plane ticket. EDS has proposed the client/server system as a national standard, Dullum said. It is already in use by a handful of the countrys largest airlines.

Another component of the suite, passenger authentication, uses biometric technology to identify trusted people in airports so that authorities can focus on lesser known people.

As a part of the biometrics offering, EDS announced it has formed a partnership with Identics, which supplies biometric systems.

EDS demonstrated an airport biometric system in use today at Ben Gurion airport in Israel—one of the most secure airports in the world. It has already authenticated over 1 million people by matching a smart card to a handprint. The process, which takes 30 seconds, has dramatically cut down wait times to go through security checkpoints, according to Dullum.

The biometrics-enabled smart card system is also used in a services offering designed to authenticate airport employees and control access at critical locations.

The airport/airlines security services suite also addresses boarding control to ensure that all passengers board an aircraft and that unaccompanied baggage is removed from an aircraft quickly.

EDS also addressed airport perimeter security in its services suite. The offering is based on radio frequency technology used to track airport vehicles and determine access to restricted areas. It also employs video inspection systems.

In other security news, EDS also announced that it has added a senior executive-level course in its Cyber Security Institute. The new CXO Workshop for CEOs describes how security and privacy fits in the business environment and how it relates to commerce, according to Al Decker, director of global security services for EDS.

EDS also launched three new tools for use by consultants to help customers implement security and privacy initiatives. They include a Security Assessment Tool, Privacy Assessment Tool and a Cyber Risk Management Assessment Tool.