Viisage to develop face recognition for visas

The State Department has tapped Viisage, a leading provider of identity solutions, to develop a facial recognition system for visa applicants seeking to immigrate to the United States under a special lottery program.

Under the contract, Viisage will provide identity solutions for up to 15 million applicants received each year for the Diversity Visa Program. "From a market point of view, this is another example of where government is clearly embracing biometrics and facial recognition to solve the problems around identity," said John Dorr, the company's vice president of marketing.

Until now, State used a paper-based system that could not flag duplications or fraudulent applications. Beginning in February, the State Department's Consular Affairs Office, which handles the program, will use the face recognition technology to help reduce fraud and increase border security.

The contract, worth an estimated $250,000, is separate from the entry/exit system that the Homeland Security Department is developing. Known as U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT), that contract is expected to be awarded later this year to keep track of foreign visitors entering and exiting the United States on a temporary basis.

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