Monday, June 27, 2011

TWIC Reader Pilots Results

The folks over at Maritime Transportation Security News have an interesting post about some of the results from the recently completed (but yet to be reported) TWIC Reader pilot study conducted by TSA. The information in the post is based upon presentations at the recent American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) Port Operations, Safety and Technology Seminar.

Read that entire post for details, but the results did not seem promising for the expanded use of the Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC) as something more than just another picture ID. Problems ranging from card delamination to training issues were noted.

The biggest problem from a security systems perspective appears to be the amount of time that it takes to process a person through the Reader. The post makes the following observation from the presentation of Jill Taylor, Deputy Director of Homeland Security, Port of Los Angeles:

“When operating in the biometric mode, all evidently significantly exceed the maximum times the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee (NMSAC) initially thought would be acceptable to industry. Even when not comparing biometrics, most still have transaction times exceeding NMSAC’s standard.”
While none of these problems directly effects the potential use of the TWIC for background check purposes, it does call the basic program into question. The whole idea for the TWIC was that the identification would be difficult to counterfeit because of the provisions for a readily verifiable biometric component in the identification process. Without an effective TWIC reader component, the cost of the program may be hard to justify to a cost conscious Congress.

We can expect to see some interesting hearings later this summer when TSA officially publishes their report on the TWIC Reader pilot.

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