IBM protests FBI fingerprint system award

The FBI’s $1 billion system to upgrade its fingerprint database is on hold.

IBM filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office Feb. 25 against the bureau's Feb. 12 award to Lockheed Martin. GAO has until June 4 to make a decision, according to the audit agency’s Web site.

The FBI’s report on the protest is due March 26, according to GAO.

IBM spokeswoman Lia Davis said the company would not comment on the protest. Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Leslie Holoweiko also declined to comment and referred all questions to the FBI.

FBI spokesman Billy Estok confirmed the protest, but would not comment further.

The FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) system is an upgrade to the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, which collects and stores fingerprints related to law enforcement investigations. NGI will collect photographs and palm prints and will make it easier for the FBI to share data.

The contract will include engineering support, software and hardware support, an interstate photo system, advanced fingerprint technology and palm-print biometric identification. It might be expanded to include facial recognition and iris scans.

Northrop Grumman also bid on the contract, but did not protest the award, according to GAO’s bid protest docket.

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