TransCore to provide TWIC program card readers

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TransCore, a unit of Roper Industries, announced Thursday, Jan. 8, that its TWIC handheld reader – developed in conjunction with DAP Technologies, a Roper Industries company that produces ruggedized handheld computers, and CoreStreet, a provider of credential validation solutions – has received Transportation Security Administration (TSA) authorization for use in security clearance of millions of personnel accessing the nation’s ports as part of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program.

TransCore says it now is one of a select group of reader manufacturers qualified through the TSA’s Initial Capabilities Evaluation (ICE) process, while using the only software that meets the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 201-1 for personal identity verification. Produced by CoreStreet, the CoreStreet PIVMAN Client is the only software for TWIC card verification on the FIPS 201 Approved Products List, the Department of Homeland Security Authorized Equipment List (AEL) and the Standardized Equipment List (SEL), according to TransCore, which says its solution is based on a customized TWIC configuration of DAP’s fully-rugged CE3240B handheld computer.

Under the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) of 2002, all individuals requesting unescorted access to enter a secure area must present a transportation security card – now called TWIC card – that includes an individual’s identity, biometric or human characteristic, and status. The TWIC program, which TSA and the U.S. Coast Guard administer, is considered a vital security measure that will ensure that individuals who pose a threat do not gain access to secure areas of the nation’s maritime transportation system. More than one million merchant mariners, port facility employees, longshoremen and truck drivers will require a TWIC credential for unescorted access to secure areas of maritime facilities and vessels regulated by MTSA.

“TransCore’s TWIC handheld reader is proven, rugged and ready to go in the field,” says Scott Brosi, TransCore’s vice president of secure facilities. “The government has spent a lot of time on the TWIC cards, including their security and deployment. It now needs readers for the 500,000-plus TWIC cards that have been issued to be operable for security clearance purposes.”

TransCore says the TWIC handheld readers – which are interoperable and can be used with any FIPS-201-compliant infrastructure on a federal, state or local basis – provide immediate validation of identity and attributes even in power-out and network-down situations. The reader also guarantees privacy as organizations glean information right on the credential to confirm identity, meaning there is no need to maintain large, local databases. Brosi says the reader is always up-to-date, providing dynamic updates any time a connection is available.

TransCore, which says it has a long history in the radio frequency identification (RFID) field dating back to the development of RFID at Los Alamos National Laboratories, considers the unit its entry into the identity management market space where it touches transportation. The company says it intends to demonstrate the handhelds to Custom and Border Protection Agency personnel for possible airport security pilots in 2009. TransCore says its RFID-based tags and readers are already in use for the United States’ Free and Secure Transport (FAST) commercial vehicle border crossing program with Canada and Mexico.