Tuesday, December 6, 2011

TWICS That Don’t Work

John C.W. Bennett has an important posting on his Maritime Transportation Security News and Views blog about a large number (26,000 or more than 1% of the issued TWICs) of TWICs that have an error in the coding of the Federal Agency Smart Credential Numbers (FASC-Ns). This is the number that the TWIC Readers look for to verify that the card is a legitimate (and currently valid) TWIC. In other words the holders of these cards will have problems gaining their legitimate accesses to MTSA covered facilities if/when card readers are used.

John points out that the information on this problem only recently (who knows exactly when as TSA doesn’t document changes on their web pages as well as ISCD, for instance, does) appeared on the TSA TWIC ‘Latest News’ web site. There is also a TSA Notification Bulletin on this topic that was published in November that provides details about the problem.

Security managers need to let their personnel who are electronically checking TWICS know about this issue so that an appropriate visual check of the TWIC can be made to see if a rejected card is on the list of cards with this encoding issue.

The interesting thing is that this problem was detected and corrected in April of this year. TSA has a list of the affected card numbers (and presumably who holds those cards). But, there is no indication that TSA has made an effort to contact the card holders. Nor have they done much beyond posting this notice on their web site to let security managers know about the problem.

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