Bridge Day biometric ballyhoo

[ed: OK, ballyhoo is probably too strong, but the alliteration demanded it.]

Bridge Day panel backtracks on security plan (Beckley Register-Herald)

Bridge Day 2015 vendors, BASE jumpers and rappellers may be able to choose this year to either pay for a background check with a contracted security company or submit to a biometric fingerprint scan for free.

The Bridge Day Commission in Fayette County passed a motion Wednesday that adds the option of the background check. The check would be conducted by a contracted, third party security company, said Bridge Commission Chairwoman Sharon Cruikshanks.

The cost of the background check will be $12 to $35, depending on which of the three companies the commission contracts.

“Biometric scans are a free option,” Cruikshanks said.

This one is especially of local interest here in West Virginia. Not mentioned in the article is that this year’s Bridge Day Festival takes place on Saturday, October 17, 2015.

Background checks became a requirement for vendors and jumpers after 2001. The fingerprint innovation appears to be meant to make the process easier by requiring less text-based identifying information from people undergoing the background check.

More information and the counter-argument to these measures can be read here: Fingerprinting Plan For Bridge Day 2015 Forces Jumper Boycott.

Oh, and if you’re unfamiliar with Bridge Day…
 

…it’s something.

FBI switches criminal ID information systems

FBI: Full Operational Capability of the Next Generation Identification System (FBI Press Release)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division announced today the achievement of full operational capability of the Next Generation Identification (NGI) System. The FBI’s NGI System was developed to expand the Bureau’s biometric identification capabilities, ultimately replacing the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) in addition to adding new services and capabilities.

The IPS [Interstate Photo System] facial recognition service will provide the nation’s law enforcement community with an investigative tool that provides an image-searching capability of photographs associated with criminal identities.

The transition appears not to have been completely smooth, but it also looks like normal service is being restored to those who rely upon the FBI’s ID infrastrusture.

National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) reports problem-free weekend after a week of issues (Guns.com)

The system started experiencing problems Sept. 6, when the FBI implemented the Next Generation Identification system — a $1.2 billion biometric system that recognizes facial features, scans irises, and reads palm and fingerprints to identify criminals — to replace the single sourced Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System.

United States may introduce DNA as part of security clearance background check

Feds mull DNA testing for security clearances (Politico)
The Federal Register explains the motive for the potential inclusion of DNA checks here [pdf]:

Given the increasing use of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) as an investigatory tool by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, the DoD should consider requiring applicants to provide a DNA sample. That provided DNA sample would be profiled and compared to available databases. This would help insure that no applicant for a clearance is a subject of an active federal, state, or local criminal investigation based on DNA evidence.

US: Background check requirements for working in child care facilities

Fingerprint background checks for day care workers in Georgia (Biometric Update)

Georgia’s governor, Nathan Deal has just signed a bill into law that will see national fingerprint and criminal record searches performed for day care workers.

Georgia is joining the 32 states* requiring a check of the FBI fingerprint database and 30 states that require a sate-level fingerprint check for employment as a child care provider.

A table of state-by-state Child Care Center Regulations [pdf] compiled by Child Care Aware® of America shows which states require fingerprint searches of state and federal databases.

Here’s a summary:

The linked pdf contains information on what type of background check (Federal fingerprints, state fingerprints, criminal record check, child abuse registries, sex offender registries) is conducted in each jurisdiction.

The document is current as of April 17, 2013 and the aforementioned table has notes changes in the law that aren’t yet in force.

Observations:
A few states require a search against one of the fingerprint databases but not the other.
Many states require a search against both fingerprint databases but not the state’s sex offender registry.

*plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Department of Defense. The study accounts for 52 political entities referred to as “states” throughout this post.

Following Sex Offender Scandal, New Zealand Looks to Biometrics for Teacher Vetting

Sex teacher report a ‘serious wake up call’ – Parata (TVNZ)

Education Minister Hekia Parata released the findings of a Ministerial Inquiry today which outlines 35 recommendations to close the “significant gap” in the employment process for hiring teachers.

The recommendations include a police check for anyone who moves from a provisional teaching license to full registration and teachers informing schools if they change their name.

The Government is also considering making teachers use biometric photo identification when they switch schools.

The inquiry was ordered earlier this year after it was revealed sex offender Te Rito Henry Miki, 40, managed to work in six schools over four years despite a supervision order that prevented him from coming into contact with children.

See also:
One in Six Sex Offenders Lives Digital Double Life

The post dealing with the above article and the issues it raises is:
ID Isn’t Perfect. How Perfect Can (or Should) It Be?

Why is the TWIC So Expensive?

TWIC Relief Proposal Unanimously Approved by Homeland Security Committee (TMCnet)

Over the past five years, roughly 2.1 million longshoremen, truckers, merchant mariners, and rail and vessel crew members have undergone extensive background checks and paid a $132.50 fee to obtain these cards. Unless Congress or the Administration acts, starting this October, workers would be required to go through the time and expense of renewing their TWICs. Compelling hardworking Americans to undertake the expense and hassle of renewing their cards is not justifiable given that the basic requirements for biometric readers to match these cards with the cardholders have not been issue by the Department of Homeland Security.

Five years on, the earliest Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWICs) will be expiring soon and renewing them isn’t cheap.

From TSA.gov:

The fee for a renewal TWIC (valid for 5 years) is the same amount as the initial enrollment fee, which is currently 129.75* since another security threat assessment will be performed and a credential issued those individuals who successfully undergo this assessment. Individuals also have the option to enroll with a comparable credential and pay a reduced fee. * Effective March 19, 2012, the enrollment cost was reduced from $132.50 to $129.75 due to a FBI fee decrease.

Transportation workers are peeved that they pay for an ID with all sorts of biometric technology bells and whistles while the ID management systems that they use daily don’t take advantage of the card’s capabilities.

But the TWIC is expensive for reasons other than biometric enrollment. The TWIC applicant must provide: biographic information, identity documents, biometric information (fingerprints), a digital photograph and pay the fee. A TSA employee has to go through all this stuff.

Then, the TSA conducts a security threat assessment on the TWIC applicant sending pertinent parts of the enrollment record to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) so that appropriate terrorist threat, criminal history, and immigration checks can be performed.

This, to say the least, is not a cheap process and my guess is that the labor costs, not technology cost, of issuing a TWIC accounts for a huge proportion of the total. The opportunity cost inflicted on the applicant also seems pretty high (i.e. getting a TWIC is a major annoyance).

So then, what of the Homeland Security Committee desire to remove the TWIC renewal requirement? I guess that depends upon why it was originally determined that the TWIC should be renewed every five years.

According to the TSA: “The renewal process consists of the same steps as the original enrollment process (optional pre-enrollment, in-person enrollment, and card activation.) These steps are required since a security threat assessment is required on all applicants, confirming they still meet eligibility requirements” (emph. mine).

If the cards are expensive because the processing costs are high and background checks are expensive. Are the costs unacceptably high? Is $26 per year too expensive? How much does it cost other entities (FBI, military) to keep ID’s current? Who should pay: the worker, their employer, the government, or some combination of the three?

ID Entrepreneurs: Criminal Background Checks

Demand is high, the business is inherently local, and the US Postal Service doesn’t seem interested.

Checking backgrounds for a living (Journal-News – Hamilton, Ohio)

“There is a need now, and an even bigger need in the future, for employee background screenings,” Louderback said. “Anyone who works for the government or with kids has to have one.

“It’s a pretty untapped market,” she said. “Not a lot of people do it. There are opportunities out there. You just have to go out and get them. That’s the hardest part.”

Translate »