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Biometrics - News

SIA Government Relations Committee Chair Kathleen Carroll recommends measures to strengthen security credentials at U.S. airports

Published on 10 February, 2016
Ms. Carroll, who serves as chair of SIA’s Government Relations Committee, called for wider adoption of biometric confirmation
Ms. Carroll recommended measures of biometric identity authentication and liveness detection

Representing the Security Industry Association (SIA) on Wednesday, Feb. 3, Kathleen Carroll, Vice President, Government Affairs, HID Global Corp., made recommendations to Congress to strengthen security credentials at U.S. airports.

Use of biometric authentication

In testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation and Public Assets, Ms. Carroll specifically explored several ways to improve security credentials endorsed by the Aviation Security Advisory Committee, a body of private and public sector representatives providing counsel to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Ms. Carroll, who serves as chair of SIA’s Government Relations Committee, called for wider adoption of biometric confirmation of identity for badge issuance and random auditing capture of a biometric template for security identification display area badge (SIDA) applicants.

“Biometrics are already in use at several airports, including BWI and SFO,” Ms. Carroll said in her prepared testimony. “These biometric deployments enhance security by tying the SIDA badge to the holder of the badge. Further, biometric technology has improved substantially in recent years and industry continues to invest in further advancements.”

Liveness detection

A key measure to ensure appropriate use of biometrics would be “liveness detection,” which eliminates spoofing, Ms. Carroll said. Liveness detection helps to verify identity through reading an individual's physiological signs of life.

“For example, liveness detection solves the worry around the biometrics that were stolen in the OPM [Office of Personnel Management] breach. Biometrics information is worthless if it isn’t usable. With liveness detection, the only way it is usable is if the living human being presents their biometrics.”

Federated model for airport employee credentials

Ms. Carroll also called for airport worker credentials to follow a federated model.

“Many airport employees work at multiple airports and often need to go through the vetting process and carry a badge for each airport. In a federated model, such as the U.S. government’s Personal Identity Verification (PIV) programme, each federal employee is vetted to an acceptable and known process across all federal agencies.”

Multiple credentialing often requires employees to carry a variety of documents with them and thereby increases security risks through exposing sensitive information, she added.

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