TSA launches biometric ID card for transportation workers

News Transportation Security Administration December 01, 2004
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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has begun testing the technology and business processes involved in the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) Program at the Port of Long Beach Container Terminal. The prototype will expand to 34 sites in six states and will last seven months.

The TWIC is a tamper-resistant credential that contains biometric information about the holder that renders the card useless to anyone other than the rightful owner. Using this biometric data, each transportation facility can verify the identity of a worker and prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing secure areas.

"TWIC is a significant enhancement that will prevent terrorists and other unauthorized persons from gaining access to sensitive areas of the nation¹s transportation system," said Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security Asa Hutchinson. "Developing the prototype for this new technology is another step in TSA¹s continuing effort to enhance security in all modes of transportation."

Currently, many transportation workers must carry a different identification card for each facility they access. A standard TWIC would improve the flow of commerce by eliminating the need for redundant credentials and streamlining the identity verification process.

Soon workers at three other sites will begin receiving their TWICs. These sites include the Philadelphia Maritime Exchange in Pennsylvania, as well as the Port of Pensacola and Port Canaveral in Florida. In the weeks following, up to 200,000 workers from maritime, rail, aviation and ground modes of transportation are expected to participate.

The TSA and the U.S. Coast Guard are beginning work on a joint rulemaking for the implementation of the TWIC for maritime workers. The information gained from the prototype phase should provide valuable input to the rulemaking process. TSA will be working with other agencies to develop complementary rules for the other transportation modes.

Once the prototype is complete, TSA will analyze the results to determine how the program will be implemented.

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