September 6, 2016 -
The International Biometrics + Identity Association (IBIA) has published a new focus paper commenting on the U.S. Coast Guard’s efforts to reduce maritime security risk by leveraging biometrics and advanced smart card technology.
The paper, Maritime Security Enhanced through Biometric Readers, authored by Walter Hamilton, Vice Chairman, IBIA, comments on the U.S. Coast Guard’s recently published final rule, which outlines the implementation requirements for electronic biometric readers used in conjunction with the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) – a biometric-enabled identity card.
TSA began issuance of TWICs in 2007 and over 2 million cards have been issued. A sophisticated smart card, the TWIC contains biometric fingerprint data that can be read electronically and matched with the presented finger of the card holder to confirm identity when a worker seeks unescorted access to secure areas. Until now, only visual inspection of the card and its presenter has been mandated for TWIC validation.
“By mandating electronic biometric verification of TWIC card holders in high risk facilities and vessels, the U.S. Coast Guard is finally using the biometric and other electronic validation technology on the TWIC credential to achieve a higher level of security at our most sensitive maritime assets,” said Tovah LaDier, Managing Director, IBIA. “This is a welcome step that reduces maritime security risk by leveraging biometrics and advanced smart card technology.”
IBIA sees the rule to require electronic TWIC readers as a clear signal that the U.S. Coast Guard believes that biometric technology should be a part of the nation’s maritime security. The full IBIA focus paper details the history of TWIC, the benefits of electronic readers, and how the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is supporting the implementation of the new electronic readers.