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Mica: It is Outrageous that Federal Agencies have Failed to Adopt Adaquate Biometric Standards

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Rep. John Mica (FL-07) confirmed at a June 19th Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on Government Operations hearing that after more than a decade and after billions of taxpayers' dollars spent, federal officials have failed to produce a secure identity credential for transportation workers, pilots, and other federal officials.

"It is outrageous that federal agencies have failed to adopt biometric standards in spite of ten years of repeated assurances and delays," said Congressman John Mica, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations.

-At the hearing, the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that after a decade and several Congressional directives, they still have not implemented a pilot's license that contains dual biometric measures and a photo of the pilot as required by law.

-The Federal Bureau of Investigation testified that there are critical weaknesses in relying solely on a fingerprint biometric measure as currently contained in federal documents. This credentialing can be tampered with and compromised.

-The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) indicated that the federal standard for an iris biometric would be issued by the end of this summer.

Chairman Mica pledged to call another hearing and require the agencies to return and report back this fall. Unfortunately until NIST issues new iris biometric standards, transportation workers, pilots, federal employees and frequent travelers do not have a secure identification document.

In comparison, Canada has successfully used a dual biometric identity document since 2007 to securely expedite travel between the US and Canada.

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