Thursday, March 5, 2009

TWIC for Facility Access

There is an interesting article over on (online version of Journal of Commerce) that deals with a problem that faced the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in using the Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC) to authorize personnel to enter the secured areas of the ports. The Port Authority does not yet have the electronic card readers available that are truly necessary to use TWIC as a means of identification. The card readers allow the facility to check biometrics on personnel against the information contained in the TWIC. This is especially important because there are already thousands of TWICs that have been reported as lost or stolen to TSA according to the article. Without the card readers the TWIC is no better than a driver’s license or other picture ID as a positive means of identification. Using TWIC at High-Risk Chemical Facilities Some commenters on the draft Risk-Based Performance Standards Guidance document released last fall suggested that high-risk chemical facilities could use TWIC as a method of identifying personnel entering the facility. This would be most suitable for transportation personnel that were not known and vetted by the facility. The idea being that the possession of a TWIC would demonstrate that the driver had been vetted by TSA. The shortcoming in that assumption is demonstrated by the situation described in this article. Without a TWIC card reader at the gate there is no assurance that the person presenting a TWIC to the gate guard is the person identified on the TWIC. This means that the high-risk chemical facility would not be able to allow a TWIC holder unaccompanied access to the facility unless a TWIC card reader was available to verify the identity of the card holder.

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