TSA says it has fixed issue with Colorado IDs not scanning at airports... sorta

A agency spokesperson said Colorado licenses used to frequently not scan correctly. Now "the majority" should work right.
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 3:40 PM MDT
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DENVER (KUSA) - Going through airport security can take longer if you’re from Colorado. Not because of the lines at Denver International Airport (DIA), but because of Colorado drivers licenses -- and a mysterious issue preventing new TSA technology from scanning them.

The TSA said the issue should be mostly fixed after a software update this summer, but some Coloradans are still stuck. Even so, TSA said the updates should solve the issue for most travelers.

“It was happening frequently, I don’t have a percentage, but it was a known issue. Officers knew it, people knew that,” said TSA spokesperson Lorie Dankers.

She said the C.A.T. was the problem -- short for credential authentication technology. TSA agents use the C.A.T. to scan IDs to see passenger’s name, date of birth, flight information and whether they’re pre-check or not.

Many Colorado licenses, however, weren’t working in the machines.

“Colorado drivers licenses for some time were difficult for the C.A.T. unit to scan,” Dankers said. “It wasn’t reading them as if it was a valid credential, even though it was.”

Often agents tried licenses a couple of times, then had to confirm passengers are who they said they are the old school way -- by looking at their boarding pass and their photo.

“It may take a little bit longer, but I would say because it’s such an important function that we’ll have to take the time that it takes,” Dankers said.

Documents 9NEWS obtained from the state Department of Revenue, which oversees the Department of Motor Vehicles and issuing of licenses, said, “TSA has owned their technology issue.”

But what’s causing the issue is still unclear.

Passengers queue up at the south security checkpoint in Denver International Airport Friday,...
Passengers queue up at the south security checkpoint in Denver International Airport Friday, Sept. 1, 2023, in Denver(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

“I don’t even know the answer to that,” Dankers said. “I can tell you when things come to our attention we take steps to correct it as much as we can. "

In recent months, she said, TSA has updated the C.A.T. database of IDs, which should remedy much of the problem.

“I’m happy to say that the Colorado issue is really not much of an issue anymore,” Dankers said. “There will be times when it doesn’t work, but the vast majority of Colorado IDs can be read now.”

Vast majority doesn’t mean everyone, however. Dankers said some Coloradans will still have issues with their IDs not scanning -- and if they don’t work at the C.A.T. system at DIA, they won’t work at any airport.

Dankers said suggested downloading Colorado’s mobile ID as a workaround for people whose IDs are affected. The digital system doesn’t use the same scanner -- and thus should not have the same issue with not scanning Colorado IDs.