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CBP trialing biometric technology by Iris ID at US Mexico border crossing


Iris ID is participating in a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) project that is testing biometric solutions to identify certain non-U.S. citizens entering and exiting the country through pedestrian lanes at the Otay Mesa port of entry in Southern California.

The six-month pilot is being conducted at one of the busiest U.S.-Mexico land border entries with between 8,000 and 9,000 pedestrians crossing northbound daily.

The pilot project is designed to meet recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and Congressional mandates.

Iris ID has integrated its Iris ID iCAM D1000 technology with Portugal-based Vision-Box to create the project’s kiosks. Pedestrians using the iris capture system stand about 30 inches away from the readers, making the process hygienically safe and non-intrusive.

Six kiosks have been installed at the border to create photo records of the irises of non-U.S. citizens. The records are checked again when they cross back across the border to match irises against those on record.

If the pilot proves successful, the automated process may be expanded to other border crossing stations. No biometric data will be requested of U.S. citizens crossing the border in either direction.

Charles Koo, president and chief executive officer of Iris ID, said iris-identification has proven to be more accurate than fingerprint or facial recognition technologies and can be used by people wearing glasses or contact lenses. “Our iCAM D1000 and its core technology, commercially available since 1997, has been deployed at border crossings worldwide and has shown exceptional performance.”

“This is not like fingerprint scans that involve physically touching a reader,” Koo continued. “Nor should it be confused with retina scanning, which requires very close proximity to the camera optics. Iris recognition is simply a digital photo using very low power near invisible infrared illumination. Iris scans are more comfortable and less invasive than conventional flash photography. Also, iris-based systems are no more intrusive than facial recognition technology.”

Iris ID has been working with the CPB and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM) for more than two years. Iris scans from the Otay Mesa project will be collected by the border patrol and stored in an OBIM database for subsequent matching. The OBIM’s iris data repository also uses Iris ID quality assessment and matching technology.

Just last week Iris ID announced it has completed a new installation of its iris biometrics technology at CERN, a 21-country European research organization operating the world’s largest particle physics laboratory located outside Geneva, Switzerland.

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