State moves toward biometric identifiers

The State Department wants a system by which it can electronically capture and process biometric identifiers, such as fingerprints, iris scans, and facial data recognition, to pinpoint threats to the nation.

The department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security wants to use a biometric enrollment data file plans to cross-check data with other U.S. terrorist, intelligence and criminal databases for known potential bad guys.

Furthermore, officials plan for the system to support the department’s own criminal investigations and personnel security. State officials routinely collect fingerprints in criminal investigations, and the department is already using biometrics for employee vetting, access control, and for issuing ID cards.

The department needs a company to manage the workflow of Electronic Biometric Transmission Specification files into a State Department-operated centrally located storage database. The system must be able to determine if the data already exists, transmit the data to non-State Department systems for comparison, and receive responses from those external systems.

All biometric files will contain fingerprints, although officials are unsure how many will include face and iris data. However, they expect that roughly 40 percent of all files will have fingerprints and either facial and iris data by 2018.

Officials would like to have the central server fully integrated in a year’s time and incrementally deploy the collection stations over three years. They also estimate having approximately 500 collection stations located both overseas and domestically. No specific time lines have been finalized as yet. Officials expect 300 enrollments per day in the first year, with the amount increasing through the years. They estimate having less than 1 million enrollments in five years.

Specifically, a solution must integrated together with the CrossMatch LiveScan Guardian biometric capture device and the flatbed scanner. Both are currently in use.

The department intends to purchase a product and contract for support services that operate the technical solution from State Department facilities and equipment. The department currently has no such system.

General Services Administration, on behalf of State, issued a request for information July 1. Responses are due by July 31.

About the Author

Mark Hoover is a senior staff writer with Washington Technology. You can contact him at, or connect with him on Twitter at @mhooverWT.

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