Immigration and Customs Enforcement app collects biometric ID in the field

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has developed an app that enables all 12,000 ICE officers to collect biometric data in the field, according to a report by GCN.

Eagle Directed Identification Environment (EDDIE) is designed to be used with ICE officers’ agency-issued Apple iPhone and a pocket-size Bluetooth-connected fingerprint scanner.

After the user-friendly app authorizes the officer using it, the officer can then take a photo of the subject while the phone’s Global Positioning System collects location data.

After incorporating the fingerprint scan, EDDIE searches several biometric databases, including Interpol’s, and finds results in less than a minute.

“I might be somewhere with an operation, I might jump in somebody else’s car,” said Rodger Werner, chief of the Information Sharing and Infrastructure Management unit, which develops IT systems and identifies new technology. “I’m always going to have my iPhone and a portable scanner to put in my pocket, but carrying around a laptop increases the complexity.”

The app cost $180,000 to develop initially, while the cost of providing laptops and fingerprint scanners to every officer would have been in the millions of dollars, according to Werner.

EDDIE is expected to offer the benefits of both cost and time savings, as officers will no longer have to take a suspect to a booking location to obtain their fingerprints.

Officers will be able to collect the biometric data on site while employees back at the office prepare the paperwork to accelerate the process.

“It promotes our public safety and national security,” while ensuring we don’t take the wrong people into custody, Werner said.

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