Passports to get biometrics

The State Department intends to develop intelligent passports that will carry facial images with biometric data on advanced computer chips.

The department will adopt a standard approved in late May by the International Civil Aviation Organization, which uses selected facial biometrics as the identification tool and high-capacity, contactless chips as the storage device. Contactless chips transmit data via low-power radio frequency, rather than direct contact with a reader device.

The move will put the agency in compliance with recent congressional mandates. The Enhanced Border Security Act and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 require countries in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program to develop biometrics-enabled passports that comply with ICAO's standards.

While the State Department plans to use facial recognition, the Homeland Security Department's entry-exit biometrics system will store two fingerprint images and a digital photograph of visitors to the United States in databases at consular offices and points of entry nationwide.

Facial biometrics alone don't fit Homeland Security's needs, said Stewart Verdery, assistant secretary for policy and planning at the department's Border and Transportation Security Directorate.

"In the United States, there's no database of faces. There's nothing to check [facial biometrics] against in our country as far as I know," he 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


  • POWER TRAINING: How to engage your customers

    Don't miss our Aug. 2 Washington Technology Power Training session on Mastering Stakeholder Engagement, where you'll learned the critical skills you need to more fully connect with your customers and win more business. Read More


    In our latest Project 38 Podcast, editor Nick Wakeman interviews Tom Romeo, the leader of Maximus Federal about how it has zoomed up the 2019 Top 100. 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.