DHS Contract Points to Self-Service Biometric Screening for Travelers

The US Department of Homeland Security may soon use technology from a London-based biometrics specialist to allow travelers to process part of their own border screening using a smartphone.DHS Contract Points to Self-Service Biometric Screening for Travelers

The firm, iProov, has announced that it has become the first overseas firm to win a contract from the DHS’s Security Science & Technology Directorate’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP). The contract entails the provision of mobile biometric authentication technology to the US Customs and Border Protection agency to help the latter process travelers at border checkpoints.

“At the heart of this announcement is iProov’s Flashmark technology,” the company said, explaining that with traveler data pre-registered with the CBP, “[i]n the run up to arrival at the US border, whether at home or en route, travellers [sic] would be able to self-serve the document check that normally happens at the point of border crossing, by authenticating themselves securely to their pre-registered photo, via their mobile phone.” In other words, the aim is to let travelers register their travel document data with the CBP ahead of a trip, and to then match themselves to that data with a selfie.

The CBP has significantly ramped up its exploration of biometric traveler screening technologies in recent years, deploying airport screening systems based on facial recognition at various US airports, among other initiatives. The DHS contract with iProov thus may point to where these efforts are headed, with the CBP aiming to ultimately let travelers screen themselves.

More details should be forthcoming, with asserting that its CEO, Andrew Bud, will discuss the contract as part of a UK trade delegation at this year’s RSA security conference, now underway in San Francisco.

April 17, 2018 – by Alex Perala