SIA recommends biometrics adoption and federated model for U.S. airport security credentials

February 7, 2016 - 

Kathleen Carroll, chair of the Security Industry Association’s (SIA) Government Relations Committee made recommendations to Congress last week regarding strengthening security credentials at U.S. airports.

Carroll, who is also Vice President of Government Affairs at HID Global Corp. gave testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation and Public Assets, discussing several ways to improve security credentials endorsed by the Aviation Security Advisory Committee, a body of private sector representatives providing counsel to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Carroll called for wider adoption of biometric confirmation of identity for badge issuance and random auditing capture of a biometric template for security identification display area badge (SIDA) applicants.

“Biometrics are already in use at several airports, including BWI and SFO,” Ms. Carroll said in her prepared testimony. “These biometric deployments enhance security by tying the SIDA badge to the holder of the badge. Further, biometric technology has improved substantially in recent years and industry continues to invest in further advancements.”

A key measure to ensure appropriate use of biometrics would be “liveness detection,” which eliminates spoofing, Ms. Carroll said. “For example, liveness detection solves the worry around the biometrics that were stolen in the OPM [Office of Personnel Management] breach. Biometrics information is worthless if it isn’t usable. With liveness detection, the only way it is usable is if the living human being presents their biometrics.”

Ms. Carroll also called for airport worker credentials to follow a federated model.

“Many airport employees work at multiple airports and often need to go through the vetting process and carry a badge for each airport. In a federated model, such as the U.S. government’s Personal Identity Verification (PIV) program, each federal employee is vetted to an acceptable and known process across all federal agencies.”

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About Stephen Mayhew

Stephen Mayhew is the publisher and co-founder of Biometrics Research Group, Inc.. His experience includes a mix of entrepreneurship, brand development and publishing. Stephen attended Carleton University and lives in Toronto, Canada. Connect with Stephen on LinkindIn.