Testimony by Martin Huddart, General Manager, Recognition Systems,
Before the Senate Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism and Government
Hearing on: Biometric Identifiers and the Modern Fact of Terror:
New Technologies in the Global War on Terrorism
Dirksen Senate Office Building / Room 226 / 10:00 a.m.
November 14, 2001
Madam Chairwoman and members of the Senate Subcommittee on Technology,
Terrorism and Government Information:
Good morning. I am Martin Huddart, General Manager of Recognition Systems,
Inc. (RSI) based in Campbell, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley.
We are a pioneer in the application of biometric systems. Our primary
technology is Hand Geometry. RSIs HandReaders have been installed
in high security environments around the United States and worldwide
since 1985. Today, there are more than 60,000 HandReader systems installed
in 80 countries around the world, reading millions of hands every day.
We are the industry leader in providing biometric technology solutions
that protect important U.S. economic, energy, military, and transportation
RSI is a division of Ingersoll-Rand Company (IR), a Fortune 200 diversified
industrial manufacturer and a world leader in security and safety. RSI
and IR provide integrated security solutions including hardware,
biometrics and electronic technologies, software applications, maintenance
and consulting services to government, military, commercial and industrial
RSIs technology solutions have been installed in high-security,
high volume access control environments for more than a decade. These
include over 90 percent of the nations nuclear power plants, as
well as in leading scientific laboratories, Federal prisons, commercial
airports, U.S. military bases, seaport cargo facilities, hospitals,
universities, government buildings, industrial plants and commercial
office buildings. Our technology is even used at day care centers to
protect unauthorized persons from having access to the children.
In the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11, one task is certain:
we must significantly increase and upgrade security not only at U.S.
commercial airports, but at other critical national infrastructure that
could potentially be targeted by terrorists. The Presidents establishment
of the Office of Homeland Security is an important initiative to better
coordinate the efforts of more than 40 Federal agencies. Hearings like
this and others that RSI has participated in the past month
can help legislators better understand existing and new technologies,
enabling you to make critical policy decisions that will better protect
Americas important infrastructure from future terrorist attacks.
Biometric systems lie at the core of technologies that can provide
heightened security at a variety of infrastructure installations. Biometrics
is the science of using physical characteristics to identify an individual.
Modern biometric systems were developed in the 1970s. Early commercial
products were expensive and therefore limited to very high security
applications, such as nuclear facilities and laboratories. In recent
years, developments in microprocessors and advanced imaging electronics
have greatly reduced the cost and increased the accuracy of biometric
devices. These developments have made biometrics increasingly common
in commercial applications for access control, and even accurate personnel
time and attendance monitoring.
RSIs HandReader was designed to be used in high-volume environments,
where the identity of hundreds or even thousands of individuals must
be accurately verified in a quick and efficient manner. These devices
ensure that only authorized individuals gain access to specific places.
This technology has been engineered to work reliably for a wide variety
of users in difficult operating environments, including even sub-zero
outdoor applications. The accuracy, reliability, durability and successful
track record of biometric hand reading technology is unparalleled in
Members of Congress and Federal and local authorities have been inundated
with proposals for new technologies since September 11. This includes
many different biometric systems, including hand, iris, fingerprint,
facial and voice recognition. While there is no disagreement that technology
has a vital role in finding new security solutions for U.S. infrastructure,
we must understand that this is not the time to experiment with new
and unproven systems. Only those technologies and products that have
already been proven in high-security environments, and which have an
established reputation for performance, should be in the forefront of
our decision-making processes in the weeks and months ahead.
To this end, one fact is well-established and should be clear: Of all
the biometric systems currently in use, hand readers are the technology
that today best meets the essential tests of performance and reliability
in high-security environments. This is a mature system that can be put
in place quickly to meet a variety of security applications. That is
what differentiates this technology from others.
This technology can be used for different types of security applications.
One is preventing unauthorized employees from gaining access to specific
areas and assets. Another is to quickly and efficiently identify low-risk
users, such as pre-screened airport passengers, so that security personnel
can focus on a much smaller category of people high-risk passengers.
RSI HandReaders can reduce the size of the haystack, so we have better
chance of finding the needle in it.
RSI has worked with several U.S. Government agencies over many years
to incorporate biometric systems into their security infrastructure.
We have worked with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, U.S.
Department of Energy, General Services Administration, Federal Bureau
of Prisons, Drug Enforcement Agency, The Federal Reserve Board, U.S.
Department of State, Federal Bureau of Investigation and most branches
of the U.S. armed forces.
The Department of Energy has long realized the weaknesses of conventional
card based access control systems at nuclear facilities. Concerned with
stolen or forged access cards, 90% of the nations nuclear facilities
installed HandReaders at sensitive access points during the 1990s. These
installations are not new, they are not a test, and they work reliably.
Given the new security concerns created by the terrorist attacks of
September 11, I would propose that this proven model of security needs
to be applied to other critical elements of our national infrastructure
such as airports, power plants, chemical plants, port facilities, and
transportation control facilities. There is a critical role for Congress
and Federal regulatory agencies to play in mandating that new security
procedures and technologies be put in place.
Nowhere is there a more immediate security challenge to address than
that of U.S. commercial airports. Already, this Congress and the Department
of Transportation have proposed several new initiatives. Some of these
will take time to implement. One example of how we can very quickly
improve airport security would be for Congress to improve existing Federal
regulations to reflect the new security environment we all face. For
example, the Federal Aviation Administrations directive FAR 107.14a
mandates that only authorized people are allowed access to flight operations
at commercial airports. Most airport authorities used card-based access
systems to implement this mandate. These systems are inadequate because
they can only accurately identify cards, not people. Only a biometric
system that reads an individuals hand to provide positive identification
of that person can do this.
One U.S. airport which has correctly interpreted the intent of this
FAA mandate is San Francisco International Airport (SFO). At SFO, all
30,000 airport employees use RSI HandReaders throughout the entire facility.
This is not a pilot program or a demonstration project; it is an integral
component of the airports security infrastructure. It has been
in place for more than a decade. This system was installed during the
Chairwomans tenure as Mayor of San Francisco. I would urge other
members of the Subcommittee and the Congress to examine how this technology
has been used at SFO and to consider utilizing it throughout our national
air transportation system.
In addition, while we applaud the Federal governments interest
in exploring new security technologies through pilot projects,
we must understand that these will take time to identify, test and implement.
Time is our enemy. Therefore, we can ill afford to delay bringing the
added security benefits of proven biometric applications while we investigate
potential future enhancements..
At the top of any national priority list must be the desire to improve
security and procedures at U.S. airports, seaports, land border crossings
and high-profile government buildings. In each of these areas, hand
geometry biometrics is already in use in some of the worlds most
sensitive security environments:
RSI HandReaders are used not only at San Francisco International Airport
and several other leading U.S. airports, but also at Ben Gurion International
Airport in Tel Aviv. Passengers returning to Israel insert a simple
credit card into a biometric kiosk as a means of presenting their identity.
This identity is verified through the placement of their hand in the
kiosk. Successful processing can be achieved in 15 seconds, much faster
than the hour it can take to clear the regular immigration lines. Similar
biometric immigration kiosks have been in place for the past 7 years
at 9 North American airports including Dulles, JFK, Newark and Dallas
airports as part of the INS sponsored INSPASS program. With over 50,000
frequent travelers enrolled in the program, there are 23,000 pre-screened
passengers per month using this immigration process.
A voluntary frequent traveler program is very powerful because it allows
officials to focus resources on higher risk individuals and allows pre-screened
passenger travelers to proceed quickly through airport security. I will
demonstrate how a proximity smart card loaded with a biometric template
can be used to validate a passengers identity in such a program.
Also, our vision is that biometric screening processes can be applied
to the check in and security check points of an airport, to make sure
that the person who checked in is the same one who entered the plane.
In addition to the airport, the Israeli border crossing application
will be extended in 2002 to the provide security at one of the most
high-profile land border crossings in the world the Israeli-Palestinian
border crossed by more than 50,000 individuals daily. Again, biometric
solutions will help manage visa and immigration procedures by reducing
the risk of identity fraud.
Our technology solutions are used at the port facility in Rotterdam,
Netherlands, the worlds largest seaport facility and the primary
sea transport gateway to the European continent to verify the identity
of truck drivers accessing petrochemical storage areas.
U.S. Federal agencies use RSIs HandReaders at sensitive government
installations including the Pentagon, U.S. military bases, the State
Department, the NSA, DARPA, the US Postal Service the Federal Reserve
Bank and American embassies abroad.
HandReaders protect access to hundreds of critical computer server
facilities including the computers which run the Nasdaq stock exchange.
During the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta, HandReaders reliably secured
access to the Olympic village so that only athletes and authorized personnel
entered the secured area.
As our nation moves forward following the tragic events of September
11, the overriding security issue will be to better manage identity
verification and access control in a variety of high-volume environments.
While machines can never fully replace highly trained and vigilant officials,
a biometric hand reader will not get tired at the end of the shift,
it will never take a day off, it wont loan its access
code to cousins, friends or co-workers, and it wont accept a forged
identity card. When integrated with other security technologies and
procedures, hand geometry readers can significantly cut down the risk
of unauthorized individuals gaining access to places and assets where
they can cause damage.
Id like to leave this Subcommittee with a piece of good news.
The good news is that we can copy from a large library of proven identity
verification solutions, then cost effectively paste these into the highest
risk applications of our choice. We urge this Subcommittee, the Congress
and Federal agencies to support the adoption of processes and technologies
which will validate the identity of those accessing our borders, airports,
ports and other critical national assets.