DHS strives for single, multiuse biometric ID card

The Homeland Security Department is working to help develop a single biometric card and reader that can handle multiple requirements for secure border crossings, Secretary Michael Chertoff said at a travel conference April 11.

The goal is to harmonize the upcoming People Access Security Service card, known as PASS, for frequent border crossers with existing trusted traveler programs for Canadians, Mexicans and truck drivers, he said in his prepared remarks.

The existing programs include the Free and Secure Trade commercial truck driver identification cards and the Nexis and Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection cards for Canadians.

Travelers who are members of the three card programs will continue to receive those benefits, Chertoff said at the World Travel and Tourism Summit in Washington. "But we want to create a global enrollment network that will unify all of these individual programs into a single comprehensive system that will be the overall PASS system."

He said the objective is to build a biometric card and reader that will allow people to use the same card in different ways to meet multiple access and security requirements.

The departments of Homeland Security and State are working together to develop the PASS card by early next year, Chertoff said.

Chertoff said he is mindful of the need to be more welcoming to tourists. One element is to have in place what he termed a "governmentwide trusted travelers screening redress process" before the end of the year.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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