Preparations are getting underway for an upgrade to the U.S. Coast Guard’s biometrics system, and the army branch has accordingly issued a request for information as the start of a contracting process.
As NextGov reports, the Coast Guard’s current system is called the Biometrics At Sea System, or BASS. It’s the Coast Guard’s main identification method for detainees captured in the course of its operations, and involves the collection of fingerprint and profile photos using a handheld device.
The data that is collected through BASS is encrypted and sent to IDENT, the Homeland Security Department’s Automated Biometric Identification System. If a match is found in IDENT records, Coast Guard authorities can then determine the proper course of action to take with a given detainee, eg. arrest, repatriation, etc.
But that ABIS made its debut all the way back in 1994, and is now set to be replaced by the incoming Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (or HART) system, which encompasses face, fingerprint, iris, voice, and DNA biometrics (and has attracted some criticism from privacy and civil rights groups).
Accordingly, BASS is due for an upgrade, and the Coast Guard has kicked off its search for a contractor (or contractors) through a request for information in which it lays out its main goals. The organization wants to assess the current capabilities of commercial technologies, identify potential risks involved in acquiring such technologies, and to generally determine what information and data are needed to draw up a proposal, among other goals.
The Coast Guard will accept questions regarding its request for information until July 9, and has set a deadline for responses to the RFI for July 23, 2021.
June 30, 2021 – by Alex Perala