GAO: Biometrics can aid in border security

Some biometric technologies could be used effectively to help screen individuals at U.S. borders provided they are used with other screening techniques, according to a new General Accounting Office report.

"Biometric technology is not a panacea for the border security problem," the report said. "It is only one component of the decision support systems that determine who is allowed to enter the United States and who is not."

The report, "Biometrics for Border Security," was submitted Nov. 15 to the Senate Appropriations legislative branch subcommittee.

Of the technologies available in the marketplace, the GAO found that fingerprint recognition, facial recognition and iris recognition are most suitable for border security. All three have been effective in border control pilot programs and applications, the GAO said.

But there are potential drawbacks:

* None of them have been used in a large application such as border security; there were more than 500 million border crossings into the country last year, two-thirds of them by non-U.S. citizens.

* Biometric technologies are not 100 percent accurate; all have some measurable error rate.

While each technology has its own costs and benefits, the GAO estimated implementing a visa system incorporating biometrics at somewhere between $1.3 billion and $2.9 billion, with annual costs running between $700 million and $1.5 billion.

"Whether the financial and nonfinancial costs are warranted by the benefits of greater security is a policy issue that should be determined before biometric technologies are implemented in a border control system," the report said.

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

What is your e-mail address?

My e-mail address is:

Do you have a password?

Forgot your password? Click here
close

Trending

  • Dive into our Contract Award database

    In an exclusive for WT Insider members, we are collecting all of the contract awards we cover into a database that you can sort by contractor, agency, value and other parameters. You can also download it into a spreadsheet. Our databases track awards back to 2013. Read More

  • Navigating the trends and issues of 2016 Nick Wakeman

    In our latest WT Insider Report, we pull together our best advice, insights and reporting on the trends and issues that will shape the market in 2016 and beyond. Read More

contracts DB

Washington Technology Daily

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.