US-VISIT wants 10 fingerprints for security

US-VISIT

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The Homeland Security Department will release a plan in the next few months that requires first-time U.S. visitors to provide 10 fingerprints as a means of tracking their entry into and exit from the United States, Jim Williams, director of DHS’ U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program, said today.

Williams said he intends to have the new plan transition eventually into a comprehensive strategy. “This is one piece of a multilayer system,” Williams said at a media roundtable forum.

The US-VISIT program currently used two-fingerprint scans, but the new standard will require the scan of all an individual’s fingerprints for first-time U.S. visitors. That will enhance security and visitor privacy. It also will lessen the likelihood of authorities subjecting a visitor to a second inspection.

Biometrics-based systems, such as fingerprint databases, have a low percentage of false positives, Williams said.

US-VISIT is working closely with the technology industry to push the 10-fingerprint machines into the hands of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, he said. The transition plan is based on the industry quickly developing the technology. The department wants it to be more accurate, faster and more mobile.

DHS is developing plans for better information sharing and better interoperability among departments, such as the US-VISIT office with the FBI and the Defense Department. DHS is also working closely with the State Department, building on the biographic and biometric collection under way at U.S. consulates. All visa-issuing posts are gathering the data from visa applicants.

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