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July 15, 2008

Sagem Morpho Intros Biometric Reader for Transportation Worker IDs

By Anuradha Shukla, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Sagem (News - Alert) Morpho has launched the MorphoAccess 521 TWIC compliant biometric reader. This first smart card access device has been designed to meet Transportation Security Administration (TSA) implementation requirements for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program.

The company’s new release can read encrypted biometric data, such as a digital fingerprint, perform the match to the card holder and perform an active card authentication across a contactless interface.
Sagem Morpho officials explained that SMI, a developer of biometric solutions including fingerprint, iris and facial recognition, will submit the MA521 TWIC compliant device and technical documentation to TSA for an Initial Capability Evaluation (ICE). The TWIC biometric reader evaluations will formally begin on July 21 and are expected to complete by January 2009.
Senior Program Manager at SMI, Consuelo Bangs said that once the MA521 TWIC is fully certified and deployed, it will serve on the frontline of security at U.S. maritime ports from coast to coast. He emphasized this reader will ensure that port or vessel access is provided only to workers with authentic TWIC smart cards containing their own unique biometric identification information.
Bangs added that the MA521 TWIC is the only TWIC-compliant biometric reader that can validate the card’s authenticity and verify the cardholder’s identity using decryption, across a contactless interface. A no-contact interface was needed for the TWIC program due to harsh port environments where damp weather can interfere with a traditional magnetic contact strip reader.
The TWIC program is mandated by the Maritime Transportation Security Act, and is
jointly administered by TSA and the U.S. Coast Guard. The TWIC program aims to issue biometric credentials in the form of tamper-resistant smart cards to laborers who need access to secure areas in U.S. port facilities and vessels.  
Anuradha Shukla is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Anuradha’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
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