Biometrics urged for border

NIST information about report

A biometric system that incorporates fingerprint and facial-recognition technologies can best help secure the nation's borders, according to a recent report.

The Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology concluded that a combined approach was the way to go after performing a study of potential biometrics programs that was mandated by the USA Patriot Act and the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service, the State Department and other agencies have long been working on different systems and initiatives for border security.

Based on its evaluation of fingerprint and facial-recognition performance, NIST recommended the following to Congress:

* At least two fingerprints should be used to identify visa applicants

* A dual system of face and fingerprint recognition should be used to verify the identity of visa holders at entry points to the United States.

Many smart cards have the storage capacity to store two fingerprints and a facial image, NIST noted. The agency also suggested that any future system incorporate several existing information technology standards and specifications.

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