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Its biometric system hobbled, Florida police push for new software

Its biometric system hobbled, Florida police push for new software
 

Lawmakers in the U.S. state of Florida are considering upgrades to the state police’s biometric ID system. It reportedly is 14 years old, overcapacity and only handles fingerprints.

The Department of Law Enforcement is said to have requested $20 million over the next two years to move to new biometrics software and then $10 million per year for service and upkeep.

Officials are asking for lawmakers to pay for cloud-based software, MBIS Cloud, from ID security firm Idemia, according to reporting by news publisher Florida Politics. The system’s database would be replaced with Microsoft database software.

The existing ID system can analyze and store finger and palm prints and share them with the FBI for comparison with the federal agency’s own Next Generation Identification biometric system. However, the state’s software can no longer be upgraded, according to proponents of the purchase.

While the application can accommodate facial recognition, the state would not use that function, said Joey Hornsby, head of IT services for the state police. That would only be a future option.

The switch would take a surprisingly lengthy two years to 30 months. Integration might prove difficult. State police have been using HID Global mobile biometric ID hardware and software.

Last year, according to Florida Politics, the state legislature appropriated $4 million for preparatory work. It would need to layout another $8 million this year and $11.7 million for fiscal year 2024-2025.

Moving even a new system beyond fingerprints will be difficult. A sizable portion of the population feel facial recognition in almost any form is unwelcome. There are workarounds where legal hurdles prevent greater use, but public sentiment is not clearly on law enforcement’s side here.

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