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ATF upgrades employee mobile devices to iPhone 6 for biometric sign-on


The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) recently upgraded all of its mobile devices from iPhone 4S to iPhone 6, in which the Touch ID-based fingerprint scanner is embedded in the home button of the device, according to a report by Fierce Mobile Government.

“The main motivation there was refreshing several-years-old technology, but also embracing Touch ID as a way of enhancing the convenience of use of the devices,” said Rick Holgate, ATF’s assistant director of science and technology. “Right now we’re using that as single sign-on onto the device.”

When ATF employees log on, they will receive three attempts to scan their fingerprints. If all three tries fail, they are then able to enter a complex password.

Holgate, who calls Touch ID “a surrogate for entering a complex password,” is currently working with the Justice Department to validate Touch ID “as an acceptable level of security”.

Touch ID has the potential to bring significant improvements to ATF employees, said Holgate.

Previously reported, UK banks RBS and Natwest both recently integrated Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint technology into their iPhone apps.

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