TSA Calls Off PreCheck Expansion Search

Earlier in the year, TSA announced its goal to expand the PreCheck program to include 25 million passengers, up from the current 3+ million. Part of the effort involved searching for private companies that can help vet and enroll passengers. However, it appears that TSA has decided to abandon the search, due to concerns for increasing cybersecurity risk. This is what TSA said in their cancellation of the proposal.

Due to concerns about the ability to ensure vendors properly safeguard testing data in light of the increased and evolving cybersecurity risks over the past year, TSA, after consultation with DHS National Protection and Programs Directorate about best practices in cybersecurity for protecting data, has decided to cancel the TSA Preè Application Expansion Request for Proposal. As currently written, there is risk in using personally identifiable information during the testing phase of the process. While risk mitigations were included in the current RFP testing approach to protect the sensitive data during testing, TSA has determined it will no longer accept the risk associated with sharing the test data.

TSA PreCheck line at Ronald Reagan Washignton National Airport (DCA)

TSA PreCheck line at Ronald Reagan Washignton National Airport (DCA). Source: TSA

TSA PreCheck (or as half the airline agents I’ve worked with call it, simply “TSA Pre”) is a program that allows you to go through expedited security. You have to go through a background check, fingerprinting, and an in-person interview, but it has saved me tons of time in the past. Though since you can also get randomly selected to participate on a flight-by-flight basis even without enrolling, some say the program is overrated.

You can enroll in TSA PreCheck for $85, which is good for 5 years, or get it as part of Global Entry ($100 for 5 years). Many credit cards, like the American Express Platinum Card, offer a fee rebate on PreCheck or Global Entry.

This change doesn’t mean that the TSA PreCheck program is ending at all; rather, it just means that TSA is not going to be as aggressive in their effort to enroll as many passengers as possible, since they will no longer be searching for third parties to help with the vetting and enrollment process. You can still apply for TSA juts like you would currently, and enrollment centers will continue to operate as usual.

If anything, this could be good news for existing TSA PreCheck passengers, since the TSA PreCheck line will maintain its current level of “exclusivity,” whatever that may be in your hometown airport.

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