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U.S. Customs and Border Protection to open biometric test facility

U.S. Customs and Border Protection to open biometric test facility

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has announced it will open its test facility for biometric identification technology in Landover, Maryland at the end of the month.

CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske revealed details of the center, which will test devices that record biometric information from travelers exiting the US, in his presentation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

According to a presentation by CBP executive director Colleen Manaher back in February 2014, the facility would test a range of biometric devices in a mock airport environment then narrow them down to the two best performing devices.

Kerlikowske said a biometric entry/exit program is an “extremely important” component of overall border security, adding that the facility’s experiments with biometrics will advance CPB’s greater plans for a more comprehensive biometric entry/exit system for the country.

The agency assumed some of the responsibilities for developing the biometric exit technology following last year’s decision by the Department of Homeland Security to divide CBP’s U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology biometric data collection and analysis program among CBP, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and a new Office of Biometric Identity Management.

The biometric data collection and analysis program gathered fingerprints from foreign visitors that were then compared with information from terrorist databases.

Once the biometric entry/exit program is established and put into use, it will work towards preventing visa overstays.

According to Rawlson King, lead researcher for the Biometrics Research Group, the implementation of a biometric exit program in the U.S. is a hot topic of debate at the moment.

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