Unisys to supply biometrics to Canadian airports

Employees at 29 airports in Canada will begin receiving biometric identification cards issued by a subsidiary of Unisys Corp. under a $4.2 million contract.

Unisys Canada Inc. will supply, integrate and manage the identification management system, which uses fingerprint and iris biometrics, for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. The contract has two base years and two option years, Unisys spokesman Brad Bass said.

Unisys' ID card system will replace the existing card system used in Canada's Restricted Area Identification Card program for 100,000 airport workers. The system was established last year as one of the first in the world to provide biometric identification for airport employees to verify identity and control access to restricted areas.

Unisys also will provide data management, integration and project management services in addition to technical support, training and preparation of training material.

The contactless smart cards will work with fingerprint and iris readers at entry points to restricted areas. Workers will scan the cards to extract the biometric data and then undergo a fingerprint or iris scan for matching against the data on the card.

As part of the contract, ImageWare Systems Inc., subcontractor to Unisys, will provide its Web-based, multibiometric ID management system for the project. ImageWare's product is the centerpiece of the new application, responsible for enrollment of airport workers, capturing and processing their biometric data, and issuing biometric-enabled smart cards, Unisys said.

In the United States, the American Association of Airport Executives announced last month that it had created a consortium to create a biometric airport security credential. The group wants the new credential to be locally controlled by airports.

The Transportation Security Administration said this month that it will begin testing solutions for airport employee screening at seven airports, including biometric identification at Boston Logan and Denver international airports.

Unisys Canada Inc. is a unit of Unisys Corp., of Blue Bell, Pa. The parent company ranks No. 27 on Washington Technology's 2007 Top 100 list of the largest federal government prime contractors.

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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