Statistica Modernizes Border Control Abroad

The software development company in Rockville, Md., helps foreign governments move into the 20th century

hen a small Rockville, Md., company decided it wanted to play a role in national and regional border control overseas, who did it turn to? Barry Kefauver, a longtime State Department official who retired in March as deputy assistant secretary of passports.

Kefauver came to know Statistica Inc. through its long history developing machine-readable passports, visas and biometric-based identification card systems. Under the anti-drug abuse legislation in 1990, he spearheaded the program to create a machine-readable visa system that would protect the nation's borders against drug traffickers. The Statistica system has reached more than 100 locations and evolved into the centerpiece of border control, he explained.

In his new job, Kefauver sells the benefits of the machine-readable documents to foreign governments. The State Department cannot rely solely on its own systems to control the flow of drugs or terrorists into the country, he noted. "It's in our best interest to have other countries have systems with higher integrity," he explained.

At the very least, Kefauver said, Statistica can get other countries into the 20th century with machine-readable documents. Only about 20 countries use the documents even though the technical standard used to create them has existed for almost a decade. The company plans to work directly with foreign governments and international partners to gain a credible presence in the international market.

Statistica's success with machine-readable visas has led to its entry into the identification card business. The Statisticard uses biometric indicators ranging from the traditional fingerprint to the more sophisticated voice recognition.

The company has begun work on 12 major systems overseas, developing mostly travel documents and identification cards used for border access and control. Statistica, which expects to generate $37 million in 1995 sales, already has established a small Moscow office.

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