Homeland Security

E-Verify goes mobile

The Department of Homeland Security  will test a new iOS app that puts the E-Verify employment eligibility verification program on users' mobile devices.

The mobile app, described in a Jan. 15 DHS privacy impact statement, would allow employers to check the citizenship status of employees more easily using their mobile phones and tablets, according to the document. DHS and Citizen Immigration Services are developing the app using an "iterative approach" and testing it on the Apple mobile operating systems using Apple's development platform TestFlight. CIS will test with a select group of private industry volunteers for 90 days. (There's no word yet on an Android version.)

E-Verify is a voluntary, Internet-based system that allows employers to confirm employment eligibility of new hires by matching information provided by employees on employment verification forms against existing information in the DHS Verification Information System.

DHS said it had "mobile optimized" E-Verify in 2012, but it worked poorly because the content wasn't scaled to the screen size of mobile devices. The new app will accommodate tablets and smartphones, and goes a long way in fulfilling a 2014 congressional mandate to CIS modify the system for mobile devices, the document said.

During the trial period, DHS said users who volunteer for the app test will be able to download it for free from the Apple App Store, then log in using their existing E-Verify credentials.

The app allows employers to create and process verification using information from an employee's Form I-9, the same as they would if they were using a desktop web browser, according to DHS.

The app will use the device's camera to capture images of the employers' Employee Authorization Card, automatically recording the information. The app captures personally identifiable information like Social Security number and date of birth, along with name, date of hire, citizenship status and the numbers of pertinent visa, the numbers assigned by CIS documents. However, the app is designed to pass along information, but not store anything permanently on the device.

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, tele.com 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 mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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