L-1 wins border-crossing card deal

L-1 Identity Solutions Inc. will provide the State Department with border-crossing cards under a five-year, $25 million contract, the company said today.

The cards are being designed for Mexican visa applicants, and as many as 10 million cards will be issued in the next five years. They include a radio frequency identification chip and are integrated with the U.S. Passport Card program, L-1 officials said.

The Stamford, Conn., company also said the State Department has doubled the scope of its existing contract for the U.S. Passport Card to $215 million for the five-year period. In March, L-1 announced its initial five-year, $107 million contract to produce the U.S. Passport Card.

The passport and border-crossing cards are part of new programs conducted in cooperation with the Homeland Security Department. The cards are intended to serve as inexpensive alternatives to passports for those who cross the border frequently, and they will meet the requirements of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative for travel by land and sea. The cards are not valid for travel by air.

Both types of cards have long-distance RFID chips, which typically can be read at 20 feet or farther away. For privacy protection, the chip will transmit only a unique reference number, which must be matched with information in a database to obtain personal information.

Both types of cards use the same card stock and will incorporate the same overt, covert and forensic security features, L-1 said in a news release. The passport card is set to begin production this month, and the border-crossing card will be issued starting in fall 2008, the company said.

Subcontractors for the U.S. Passport Card program include Datacard Group, American Bank Note Co. Inc., RCD Technology Corp., Identity Stronghold, Intermec Technologies Corp. and TransCore, L-1 officials said in March.

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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