DOJ asks: How should biometrics be added to Con Air?
The U.S. Department of Justice is considering the addition of biometric verification to two mobile apps used by the government to transport prisoners on its U.S. Marshals Service airline, known as Con Air.
Officials in the Justice Department have published a request for ideas about building biometric data into an Apple iOS logistics app used in transporting prisoners as well as an Android app carrying prisoners’ records. According to the request document, officials want a response time of less than a second.
The goal is to eliminate prisoner mix ups and to speed up exchanges. The government is asking respondents to think in terms of a software development kit. The deadline for ideas is March 11.
Con Air, also known as the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System (JPAT), scheduled and performed 103,563 air movements in fiscal 2019, according to the marshal’s service. To get prisoners to and from planes, JPAT manages a fleet of cars, vans and buses.
The transportation system is a division within the marshals service, which in turn falls under the Justice Department’s umbrella.
To help pull off this logistical feat, the marshals service uses a native iOS management-information system app deployed on government-owned portable devices that are carried by operations workers, aviation officers and medics.
Flight schedules and prisoner manifests are managed using the devices. The app also provides biographical information about each passenger, including medical and security information.
The other app mentioned in the request for information, called the Movement Packet, or MPAC, could use biometric data, too.
It is being developed to automate electronic travel packets created each time a prisoner is moved among prisons or to a distant court. The Movement Packet is expected to replace paperwork that today accompanies all prisoners being transported by air.
About 1,000 mobile devices would have these data and verification applications when the project is completed.
Workers in the field must be able to verify a prisoner’s identity on their mobile screen and “immediately proceed to identify the next prisoner in a fully automated multi-transactional session and preferably without a user initiated manual trigger.”
The Marshals Service also recently published a request for information on presentation attack detection and other “counter-biometric” technologies.