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FCW : August 15, 2013
August 15, 2013 FCW.COM 19 As more agencies incorporate biometrics into their identity management efforts, it's helpful to take a look at what works --- and what doesn't CLEARcard: What's possible Congressional critics have raised concerns about the dearth of effective biometric identi cation capabilities at federal agencies. In a June hearing on biometric iden- ti cation held by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Government Operations Subcommit- tee, Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) and ranking member Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) hammered managers from the Federal Aviation Administration, Customs and Border Protection, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the State Department for what the lawmak- ers said was an inability to develop workable, interoperable identi cation cards that carry ngerprint and iris information as required under Home- land Security Presidential Directive 12. The lawmakers said the private sector has been implementing such technology smoothly, and they pointed to CLEAR, a company that provides biometric-based ID cards so travel- ers can bypass airport security lines. According to subcommittee members, the company's CLEARcard shows what a well-run program can accomplish. CLEAR CIO Kevin Lupowitz told FCW that the cards carry either a ngerprint or an iris image and are backed by two veri ed forms of government ID. Travelers present the cards and their boarding passes in security lanes oper- ated by CLEAR at four U.S. airports. The checkpoints also have iris or ngerprint readers. Lupowitz said that to generate the ID and biometric, CLEAR starts with two forms of government-issued ID, such as a driver's license and a passport. It authenticates those documents through technology similar to what the govern- ment uses in its passport veri cation process. The company also captures an image of the user's iris or ngerprint and encrypts it on a chip in the card. He said that although ngerprints are much faster, iris recognition is growing in popularity among users. TWIC: A cautionary tale? The Transportation Worker Identi cation Credential (TWIC), an ambitious bio- metric ID card project overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard, has been under way for more than a decade. Congressional overseers and critics say its history shows how important upfront management can be for large biometric ID installations. The program began in 2003 as part of an effort to protect ports and trans- portation infrastructure in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks by establish- ing a national, tamper-proof secure ID for transportation workers. Millions of truckers and port work- ers pay $65 to $135 to get TWIC cards, which numerous critics on Capitol Hill have called nothing more than a glori ed ash pass because their more advanced biometric and data storage capabilities have not lived up to their billing. The card has a computer chip that stores the holder's information and biometric data, usually a ngerprint. The chip is read by inserting it into a reader or holding it near a contactless reader. The card also has a magnetic stripe like the ones on credit cards and a linear bar code as alternative reading methods. However, over the years, the pro- gram has been hobbled by faulty card readers, inadequate ngerprint data collection, expiration-date errors, dark photos and other problems. A recent study by the Government Accountabil- ity Of ce said the results of a test of TWIC card readers "were incomplete, inaccurate and unreliable for informing Congress and for developing a regula- tion (rule) about the readers.... These issues call into question the program's premise and effectiveness in enhancing security. " At a hearing convened by the House Homeland Security Committee's Bor- der and Maritime Security Subcom- mittee in June, Chairwoman Candice Miller (R-Mich.) and others questioned whether the TWIC program was dying or already dead. Rear Adm. Joseph Servidio, assistant commandant for prevention policy at the Coast Guard, said TWIC was not dead. "We will be able to justify the technology as it matures, " he said. "The systems are more robust now. " "Are we where we need to be?" Ser- vidio asked rhetorically. "No, sir, but I think we are moving in that direction. " --- Mark Rockwell
July 30, 2013
August 30, 2013