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US to ease security screening for 'low-risk' travelers

A security screening area at Los Angles International Airport on April 22, 2013 in Los Angeles, California
A security screening area at Los Angles International Airport on April 22, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.

More US travelers may soon be able to keep their shoes on and water bottles filled as they pass through airport security, authorities told AFP Tuesday.

The Transportation Security Administration will offer expedited security screening to "low risk" US citizens without requiring them to enroll in their "trusted travelers" program, a spokesman said.

"This process will allow TSA to maintain its high security standards and create greater efficiency while offering more travelers the benefit of expedited screening through" the specially designated lanes, a statement said.

But "no individual will be guaranteed expedited screening," and travelers will only learn whether they have been selected for it when they get their boarding passes, the TSA warned.

The agency plans to start to put the new procedure in place by the end of the year. It will use information already provided, including name, date of birth and gender, to identify low risk passengers -- much of the same information is currently used to block "suspected terrorists" from traveling.

Passengers will also have the option of applying for the expedited screening program by filling out an online form, visiting an enrollment center to provide fingerprints and paying an anticipated $85 fee for a five-year period.

Currently only US and Canadian citizens are eligible for the program.

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