Reliability of Iris Recognition as a Means of Identity Verification and Future Impact on Transportation Worker Identification Credential
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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The Department of Homeland Security is deploying the Transportation Worker Identification Credential TWIC to U.S. ports to help ensure only authorized individuals having undergone background checks have access to secure areas. Congress mandated the TWIC have a biometric authenticator DHS chose fingerprints. This thesis argues iris scanning is a better choice because of the nature of the maritime environment and because iris scanning is a more accurate biometric. This thesis also argues there are social factors affecting a biometric enabled identification card which must be considered for the program to be successful. To investigate the issue of biometrics and the TWIC, this thesis performed a field study of an iris scanner a survey of biometric attitudes, and interviews with members of the PMA and the ILWU. The iris study operated the scanner in an identification mode, experiencing no false acceptances and few false rejects however it found the scanner sensitive to sun position with respect to the subject. The pilot study of attitudes found subjects supportive of biometrics in scenarios currently requiring positive identification, but opposing them when it would create new requirements for identification. Both pilot studies were impacted by an inability to provide an incentive to study subjects.
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