idSoftware developing biometrics technology to support DHS port security regulations
idSoftware is one of four firms developing biometrics technology in support of the Department of Homeland Security’s stricter port security regulations, following the passing of a new rule last August mandating that incoming port personnel scan identification cards through an electronic reader, according to a report by MeriTalk.
After a three-month process, DHS placed idSoftware on its Qualified Technology List of approved companies who develop port security technology.
During the “detailed process”, DHS had to approve the company’s three testing labs, idSoftware president and CEO Jim Strey said.
Shortly after, DHS approved the company’s SecureGate Ports technology, which uses biometrics to authorizes a person’s identity before they enter a port.
In addition to developing the authentication systems, idSoftware also created VisCheck Ports, which track all people in a facility, whether they have Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) cards or not.
According to Strey, idSoftware is the only firm among its competitors that has developed a comprehensive visitor management system.
All people entering port facilities by road or by sea are required to show a TWIC card, which has been in circulation for quite some some time.
Facility guards are instructed to confirm that the card’s holograms, expiration date, and photo ID are correct, as well as ensure that the card is not on the Transportation Security Administration’s Canceled Card List.
Until recently, port security officials were not required to scan the card through a machine and would typically give the TWIC card a cursory glance when checking criteria.
As a result, there was a significant issue with unauthorized personnel entering ports as incoming travelers would frequently use fraudulent cards to gain entry into checkpoints, Strey said.
The new TWIC rules require the TWIC card to be tapped onto an electronic reader and approved before the traveler is granted entry.
In addition, vehicle operators must scan their thumbprint, which is matched with a thumbprint stored on a database.
The new port security measures have been in development for nearly 10 years. The new rule was finalized in 2013 and passed into law in August 2016.
Perhaps the largest challenge for port security enforcement agencies is enforcing the stricter security measures without enduring significant commercial interruption, Strey said.
“If a terrorist attack happened in that channel, it would shut down commerce for probably three months and would cost billions of dollars,” Strey said. “The balance between commerce and port security is a difficult balance.”