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Putting the Personal in Personal ID Systems

NCJ Number
Homeland Defense Journal Volume: 1 Issue: 8 Dated: November 2003 Pages: 8-11
Mickey McCarter
Date Published
November 2003
4 pages
This article describes personal identification technology that has been developed for government security purposes.
Government issued personal identification systems have been a hotly debated issue, both before and after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. While a national system of personal identification has not been instituted, the government has sought out personal identification technology in order to add a higher level of security for government employees and contractors. The article describes several such technologies, including the ActivCard Identity Management System (AIMS), which is used by the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of the Interior for widespread authentication purposes. The technology utilizes public key infrastructure to verify the identity of persons accessing governmental electronic transactions. The article also describes other governmental personal identification programs, such as the Transportation Workers Identity Credentials Program, which is an initiative of the Transportation Security Administration. This program is designed to manage the credentials of transportation workers who serve as a first line of defense for baggage entering and traveling within the United States. Biometrics products, such as Trinity, that can add another level of security with fingerprint, facial scans, and other biometric identifiers are also described. Biometric technologies are capable of scanning physical characteristics, such as facial structure, retina, or fingerprints to verify identities. Finally, the article discusses the early pioneers of such personal identification technology, which were in development or operation long before terrorism became a prominent problem in the United States.