Coast Guard Embraces Biometric Security Checks for High-Risk Scenarios

The US Coast Guard has finally established its rules on credential inspection for maritime workers via the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), and the International Biometrics + Identity Association (IBIA) is applauding it as a validation of the value of biometric security.Coast Guard Embraces Biometric Security Checks for High-Risk Scenarios

The TWIC was first implemented in 2007, and more than 2 billion such cards have been issued since. The ID card is issued to all federally contracted maritime workers, and features biometric fingerprint data of each. Despite this biometric capability, it has mostly been used for visual checks in which inspectors attempt to verify that the cardholder’s face matches the one depicted on the card.

The Coast Guard actually started taking public comment on the idea of mandating electronic checks in 2006, before the first TWICs were issued, and as only now come to a conclusion: Electronic checks will be required for workers entering high-risk vessels or facilities only. At the moment, that’s expected to affect about 525 facilities, and only one vessel.

Commenting on the move in a statement, the IBIA’s Walter Hamilton asserted that while the TWIC rule won’t take effect until August 23rd, 2018, it nevertheless “clearly demonstrates that the Coast Guard believes that the use of biometric readers can and should be a part of the nation’s maritime security system.”

September 6, 2016 – by Alex Perala