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US-VISIT: Biometrics Are Here to Stay

February 21, 2012 1 comment

defensemedianetwork.com

A traveler arriving at Washington Dulles International Airport uses a scanner that records images of all 10 fingerprints. U.S. Customs and Border Protection photo

In its everyday operations, the term “biometrics” still has a fairly simple meaning for the federal border protection workforce:  It means fingerprints and photographs.  The immigration and border management system used by the Department of Homeland Security – the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program – collects digital fingerprints and photographs from everyone between the ages of 14 and 79 who attempts to enter the United States, and checks these images against a database of known or suspected criminals, terrorists, and illegal immigrants.

US-VISIT is a component of – or more accurately, it is a system that will soon make use of – the largest fingerprint repository and biometric-matching system in the world, DHS’s Automated Biometric Identification System, or IDENT.  By the end of 2012, according to US-VISIT Director Bob Mocny, the program will become fully integrated with this fingerprint database, enabling real-time “rapid response” capability – instead of checking against the current US-VISIT watch list of about 6 million identities, the fingerprints of incoming travelers will be

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