Information Management

DHS to expand foreign biometric data sharing


The Homeland Security Department's five-month-old Office of Biometric Identity Management will use a $33 million contract with Accenture to expand its international data sharing capabilities and widen its secure Web services.

OBIM, which provides biometric identification services for federal, state and local governments, ramped up operations under DHS's National Protection and Programs Directorate in late March. Along with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection, OBIM took up the duties previously performed under the U.S. Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology  program. US VISIT's overstay analysis functions were moved to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and its entry/exit policy and operations were moved under Customs and Border Protection.

OBIM Deputy Director Shonnie Lyon told a House Homeland Security subcommittee in May that her agency is focused on improving biometric and biographic data sharing with the Departments of Defense, Justice, and State by increased interoperability. By storing, matching, and analyzing biometric data, linked to biographic information, OBIM provides actionable information on immigration violators, criminals and known or suspected terrorists, she said.

DHS's nine-month contract with Accenture Federal Services is aimed at decreasing the time, cost and personnel required to support data sharing among the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada and Australia, the company said.

The contract will expand use of secure Web services for all stakeholders, allowing easier and more cost-effective access to OBIM data, said Accenture. Development of "reusable services," said the company, has allowed OBIM to decrease time and costs for new-user access to the system from nine months to three weeks.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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