Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mixed results on new ID cards for US ports

WASHINGTON — A six-year, $250 million anti-terrorism effort to secure the nation's ports is delayed for at least two more years because the government lacks machines to read fingerprint ID cards issued to more than 1 million workers.

Truckers, deckhands and others requiring access to secure areas at ports paid $132 apiece for the high-tech ID cards that have their fingerprints embedded in them. But the Homeland Security Department, which is overseeing the program, says it still lacks fingerprint readers that can be used reliably in harsh weather.

Maurine Fanguy, head of the ID program, said the cards improve security even without the fingerprint scanners, because they are issued after workers' criminal history and immigration status are checked. The cards, which have holograms and microprinting that can be read only with magnification, are hard to forge, Fanguy said. Port workers previously used driver's licenses or port ID cards.

"This is a much more secure credential," Fanguy said. About 1 million port workers and 200,000 mariners have received the cards. (more here)

We say: Many ports have completed or nearly completed initial card issuance.  Our SkimSAFE badge holders are a vital component is keeping the stored card information safe and secure.

No comments:

Card File