Programs test ID technologies

The Transportation Security Administration is testing two projects to keep track of workers' comings and goings at facilities across the country.

The programs include TSA's pilot to evaluate airport access control for authorized personnel and a test of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential to control access to facilities such as docks and ports.

Systems developers are evaluating technologies to determine suitable, reliable and scalable alternatives for such ID applications.

For the airport access control pilot, Unisys Corp. is testing radio frequency ID, biometric, advanced video surveillance and anti-piggybacking technologies at 10 airports, said Ira Kirsch, president of the company's federal government group. Unisys is the lead contractor on the project and a subcontractor for TWIC, which is run by BearingPoint Inc. of McLean, Va.

'There's a whole host of different locations, with the respective types of technologies thought the most appropriate for those locations,' Kirsch said. 'From a high-level perspective, one thing that we're learning is that there's a tremendous need here at these airports.'

For TWIC, the pilot is testing a standard smart card with an integrated circuit chip, but it also is trying other card options'such as optical memory strips, magnetic stripes, 2-D bar codes, linear bar codes and digital photographs'used by systems now in place.

Kirsch said some technologies have emerged as promising.

'Fingerprint technologies and RFID are key technologies that are absolutely going to be incorporated,' he said. 'They seem to be robust, reliable and to provide the type of security we're looking for.'

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