Congressman: Seaport Biometric Card Deployment ‘a Joke’

New York From SeaA US legislator is lambasting the deployment of biometric security cards at US sea ports. Florida Congressman John Mica went so far as to call it “a ‘Three Stooges’ card”, adding that it “does not work and it’s a joke.”

The biometric cards, called Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWICs), are intended for government workers at the ports. The issue is that when the Department of Homeland Security decided to issue them after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, it failed to specify approved card readers or any meaningful guidelines on how they should be used, other than requiring that workers, truckers, and others involved in transportation related to the port had to have them. Speaking to Fox News on the matter, Port Manatee seaport security director David St. Pierre acknowledged the problem, saying, “We gave it our best guess. One would have thought they would have that resolved much faster, but it’s not.” The House is trying to address the issue, though: It has approved a reform bill ordering that the TWIC program be reassessed and revamped – with no extra funding.

To be fair, the DHS did try to establish at least some guidelines for biometric port security back in 2008, but these evidently were not enough. And this is not the first case of US security forces ineptly deploying biometric identification systems; earlier this year the DHS discovered serious problems in how the US Coast Guard was implementing its own fingerprint scanning system. Still, it’s worth emphasizing that the problems in these cases do not come from the technologies themselves, and given the interest that the US government has shown in biometrics, the developments shouldn’t chill the deployments but rather should spur government agencies to implement them more effectively.

Source: Fox 13 Tampa Bay

July 10, 2015 – by Alex Perala