The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Monday called on industry to share their solutions to support the US Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Biometric Exit Program, which seeks to use biometrics to enhance the security of the border without interfering with the flow of legitimate trade and travel.
CBP’s Request for Information (RFI) explained that the agency intends to add biometrics to identify visa overstays, identify persons of interests, including criminals and imposters, and improve reporting and analysis of international visitors to the United States.
A biometric entry-exit screening system was one of the recommendations made in 2004 by the independent, bi-partisan 9/11 Commission. Although federal legislation mandates that DHS deploy a biometric exit program, the system has yet to be fully implemented.
The RFI marks a significant step towards the implementation of a biometric exit system.
“It’s a very helpful RFI," commented Michael Dougherty, CEO of the Secure Identity & Biometrics Association (SIBA). "In short order it explains the background for Biometric Exit, outlines the experiments that CBP has made using different biometric modalities at the air, land and sea ports, clearly discusses the goals and objectives of the Program, and then encourages vendors to explain how they can help CBP satisfy its challenges while minimizing risk and life cycle costs."
Dougherty said DHS expects to see a significant response from industry. The deadline for input is July 1, 2016.
“DHS has become very good at substantive outreach to industry, which is important for the Department in understanding what’s technologically possible, and important for vendors who want to understand DHS’ requirements so that they can create solutions that will aid DHS in fulfilling its different missions,” Dougherty explained.
In addition, SIBA has put together an ‘Identity and Biometrics Innovations Forum’ to take place on June 29. The goal of the forum is provide a vehicle for dialogue between DHS, its government partners, and industry.
“The Forum,” remarked Dougherty, “will feature panelists from the Transportation and Security Administration and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to discuss screening innovations to increase accuracy, speed and throughput. They will be followed by CBP, which will provide an update on Biometric Exit and the future of traveler management. We will then hear from the DHS Office of Biometric and Identity Management and the FBI Biometrics Center of Excellence on advances in the sharing of biometric and biographic information with domestic and international partners.”
“We are delighted with the level of interest in the Forum,” concluded Dougherty, “creating occasions where government and industry can examine problems together is an important objective for SIBA.”