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ISC First Day: TWIC Isn’t a Candy Bar; Packages Get Screened

April 1, 2009
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Homeland security remains strong and visible at ISC West. One example is the Transportation Worker Identification Card program and another is package screening for corporations.

An example, L-1 Identity Solutions is showing its TWIC-Station, a new access control device capable of reading a wide range of secure government credentials based on the FIPS 201 standard including TWIC, PIV and CAC endpoint cards. The device also offers single or multi-factor authentication control with support for PIN codes and is a fixed access TWIC readers capable of matching the fingerprint of a PIV cardholder to the biometric stored on the card.

“This multi-factor authentication, multi-card type reader represents the most versatile product on the market today and is ideal for helping U.S. ports and vessel operators meet the program goals for TWIC with a highly secure, yet flexible device that is easy to install and simple to use,” said Rob Douglas, President of the Enterprise Access Division of L-1.

The federal TWIC program provides a tamper-resistant biometric credential to maritime workers requiring unescorted access to secure areas at U.S. ports and to vessels regulated under the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA). The cards are also issued to all U.S. Coast Guard credentialed merchant mariners. Government employees accessing maritime ports and vessels can use a PIV or CAC identification card for entry. TWIC and PIC secure credentials are based on U.S. Federal Information Processing Standard 201 (FIPS 201) that requires all government agencies to authenticate employees, contractors, and civil servants using stronger authentication methods, including fingerprint biometrics, for access control.

The L-1 TWIC-Station meets the latest TWIC Reader Hardware and Card Application Specifications issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA). It supports multiple credentials based on the FIPS 201 model and can read PIV fingerprints. The unit’s fingerprint algorithm is GSA-approved and FIPS 201 compliant and the UPEK TCSI fingerprint sensor offering 500 DPI is FIPS 201 compliant and FBI approved. www.l1id.com

In another example, Orsus told ISC attendees how the Virginia Port Authority launched a Trusted Agent Program with Orsus’ tracking solution to monitor visitors without the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC).

The program, being called Trusted Agent by the Virginia Port Authority, allows trusted visitors access to secure areas of the Port by providing them with a Nextel Sprint phone equipped with a radio and navigational system from Xora Co. When paired up with Situator from Orsus, it provides Command Center operators with the ability to track and monitor their whereabouts on Port property and directly contact them.

The Virginia Port Authority came up with this solution after recognizing the challenges posed by TWIC requirements. TWIC requires that anyone needing access to secure areas of Marine Transportation Security Act regulated vessels and facilities to have a Coast Guard issued identification credential or be escorted at all times.

According to Ed Merkle, Director of Port Security and Emergency Operations, Virginia Port Authority, some people coming to the port are one time visitors, such as truckers who have been trusted with bringing secure cargo across the country but do not have a TWIC card. At a cost of $132.50, the card can be expensive for one-time visitors. The other challenge is when a TWIC card carrying person forgets his card for the day. The person would then need to be personally escorted to gain access to the Port.

“That employee can be critical to you,” said Merkle. “These were the problems we were faced with and we asked what’s a possible solution? We’ve heavily invested in our security infrastructure and wanted to identify a way to further leverage it.”

Trusted Agent will enable the Virginia Port Authority to maintain TWIC compliance. The handheld device can notify dispatchers by communicating via Situator if the visitor with the device enters a restricted area, a section of the Port he is not authorized to enter or if the device doesn’t move for a pre-defined period of time.

“The Trusted Agent Solution is part of the new and expanding Situation Management Solutions Library in Situator,” said Jacob Fox, President Americas, Orsus. “This solution demonstrates the ability of Situator to provide organizations with Situation Management Solutions to address specific customer challenges in addition to empowering customers to develop their own custom solutions.” www.orsus.com

From American Science and Engineering—It has introduced at ISC two new Gemini Parcel Inspection Systems: Gemini 7555 and Gemini 100100. These systems along with the Gemini 6040 provide customers with a selection of systems to inspect everything from mail, baggage and break-bulk cargo within mailrooms, lobbies, checkpoints, airports, high threat facilities and other security-sensitive areas. Gemini continues to be the first and only conventional parcel inspection system to combine multiple technologies —AS&E’s proprietary Z Backscatter X-ray technology and dual-energy transmission — allowing operators to obtain the most information about the contents of a parcel. Operators simultaneously view two images, a Z Backscatter image and a dual-energy image, dramatically increasing the likelihood of finding hidden illegal materials. Gemini’s unique capability to detect both metallic and non-metallic threats — even in cluttered environments — makes it an invaluable inspection tool for security officials. www.as-e.com

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