The Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) is, after a long and drawn out process, entering a promising new phase. This article from HSToday.us explains.
After 11 September 2001, the federal government decided to credential every worker with access to sensitive transportation facilities (airports, ports, etc.). The idea, while it seems simple enough, was actually overly complex and difficult to implement, with time, cost, technological hurdles and political interference delaying the program’s progress
While progress was slow, the TWIC program has registered 1.7 million workers in maritime ports alone.
In the past two years, workers have used TWIC as a sophisticated “flash pass” to show to security. However, more is expected from the program in the next two years. Ports will likely begin to adopt TWIC card readers that scan credentials and then use biometrics to verify the cardholder’s identity, flagging any cardholder whose credentials have been revoked or anyone who appears on a terrorist or criminal hotlist.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) implemented a pilot program two years ago to test this very application of the TWIC program. TSA’s pilot program is in the final of its three phases. When this phase is completed (later this year), TSA will deliver a report on the readers to Congress.
Phase 1: Laboratory tests to determine if readers complied with TWIC specifications.
Phase 2: Installation of readers at select ports.
Phase 3: Simulated operation of the readers at pilot facilities.
Pilot facilities are located in seven regions, including: Brownsville, Texas; Annapolis, Md.; and Vicksburg, Miss., as well as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the ports of Los Angeles; Long Beach, Calif.; and Seattle, Wash.
But what does this all mean in the world of biometrics and personal identification? Only time will tell. But all signs point to the eventually adoption of an all-encompassing biometric identification system in all sensitive transportation ports.
For any questions on the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) and biometrics, simply contact ARK Systems at 1-800-995-0189 or click here today.