State taps Identix for facial-recognition pact

The State Department has chosen Identix Inc. to provide facial-recognition software to be integrated into visa application processes. The Minnetonka, Minn., company said the contract is worth more than $2.2 million over the next 12 months from the initial options State has exercised by choosing it as the sole recipient of the Facial Recognition System and Integration Support contract.

The contract has one base year and four one-year options. It calls for Identix to provide its biometric discovery engine known as the Automated Biometric Identification System 3.0 in what the company calls the largest deployment of facial-recognition technology in the world to date.

Identix said it would immediately begin to supply, integrate and deploy ABIS. State will use the system for three purposes:

  • Detecting visa applicant fraud via one-to-many matching of submitted photos with those already in the department's database

  • Verifying the identity of applicants for visa renewal by one-to-one matching of submitted photos with corresponding pictures in the database

  • Detecting wanted or missing persons by one-to-many matching of submitted photos against terrorist watch list images.

Identix will carry out several tasks, including enrolling about 35 million existing visa photos; adding about eight million new images annually from regular visa applicants; entering at least 10 million visa lottery applicants' photos annually; matching images against additional pictures State will provide; and processing up to 2,000 matches per hour.

International Biometric Group of New York and Science Applications International Corp. of San Diego also will work on the contract team.

Large versions of ABIS are made up of three components: a search core server that handles biometric tasks, an Oracle9i database management system and an application server that links ABIS to other applications. The search core typically runs on a Microsoft Windows 2000 or 2003 platform using dual Intel Xeon processors, according to the company. The Oracle database can hold up to 100 million facial templates.

Viisage Technology Inc. of Billerica, Mass., and Cognitec Systems GmbH of Dresden, Germany, two other vendors of facial-recognition software, also participated in teams bidding on the contract, Identix said.


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