Transportation and law enforcement agencies are rushing to try biometric security, and in some cases Congress is mandating its use.
The Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001 calls for $23 million worth of security tests, including biometric ones, at 20 airports. Pending legislation to enhance border security would integrate biometrics into the Immigration and Naturalization Service's entry and exit system.
Officials of the Federal Aviation Administration, INS and other agencies discussed their tests at a recent conference sponsored by the Biometric Consortium, a standards group led by the National Security Agency and National Institute of Standards and Technology. The conference, originally scheduled to begin Sept. 12, was postponed after the previous day's terrorist attacks.
Inventing and improving biometric security devices "is going to be a public-private partnership," said Omid Omidvar, manager of NIST's Advanced Technology Program. "The government can create needs and standards, but it cannot create solutions."
ATP could fund "groundbreaking, not incremental, innovations" in voice, iris and optical-pattern recognition, Omidvar said.
Within six months, FAA will begin the congressionally mandated tests,...