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Secure Transactions News

TWIC is on issue, but without readers

Thursday 17 January 2008

More than 40 ports have already stared the issuing process including Portland, OR, Jacksonville, FL, New Orleans, LA, Buffalo, NY, and Memphis, TN, Long Beach, CA, Wilmington, Del, …  Nationwide, the Transportation Security Administration estimates that more than 1 million workers with unescorted access to secure areas will apply for TWIC during 2008.

Truck drivers complain the TWIC program requires in-person enrollment, followed by a second appointment at the same location to personally pick up the biometric identification card. Transportation workers have got to go through background checks. The fee for a TWIC card is US$ 132.50 (EUR 90), although workers who already have comparable background checks on record can obtain a TWIC card for US$ 105.25 (EUR 71.60).

Federal authorities are still trying to figure out exactly how they will check the identification cards at terminal entrances. The decision is not made yet to go through an extensive check or to use electronic readers to check the cards and workers' fingerprints on a random basis. But officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, along with New Jersey's US senators, say random checks would undermine the security objective: they want everyone checked.

The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) plans to select and test readers for TWIC cards in 2008. Pilots have received a US$ 1.8 million (EUR 1.2 million) funding. These pilot projects will test the effectiveness of new TWIC card reader technology at several maritime locations in the US prior to requiring their implementation at ports nationwide. The installation of electronic devices capable of reading the biometric information on the ID cards won't happen until 2009, at the earliest.