TSA approves test for TWIC readers

The Transportation Security Administration has approved testing of biometric readers produced by Sagem Morpho Inc. as part of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program, the company has announced.

The fingerprint readers, including fixed-location readers and a portable reader, are being deployed at ports in Los Angeles, New York and Long Beach, Calif., according to a news release issued Nov. 5.

Under the TWIC program that started a year ago, 750,000 port workers are required to obtain the Federal Information Processing Standard 201 biometric identification card by April 2009 for unescorted access to port facilities. Lockheed Martin Corp. is the prime contractor.

Due to industry concerns about the TWIC readers’ ability to function in the marine environment, TSA earlier this year delayed the deployment of the readers to an unspecified date. To date, the TWIC cards that have been distributed and are being used at access points without readers.

The cards have personal information and a Federal Agency Smart Credential Number. They also have an encrypted fingerprint that can be read by an approved device. Sagem Morpho said its readers have been approved for the capability of decrypting the biometric information on the TWIC card.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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