Government Security News January 2017 Digital Edition. Available on the GSN Magazine Website at www.gsnmagazine.com
Access Control & Identification Heightening security verification with self-service kiosks The issuance and verification of identity credentials are currently managed by different agencies in different ways. Given the variations in resources, technology and security requirements, this is not surprising. Emerging technologies are now creating opportunities to achieve greater consistency across platforms and agencies which may enable greater efficiencies and better accuracy throughout the spectrum of security needs. One promising modality is the standalone, self-service ID kiosk. Its simplest form is similar to the electronic check-in kiosks at airports, where passengers insert their credit cards or scan their passports to verify identity. Those kiosks serve as an initial security point, but they do not support biometric data recognition (such as fingerprints, iris scan or facial recognition). They reduce the need for clerks to perform the check-in at the airline counter, without replacing TSA check-points where passengers show picture IDs along with boarding passes. Still, the check-in machine allows reasonable labor savings for airlines. 22 It also provides a conceptual backdrop for the type of self-service kiosks that could enable greater levels of efficiency, savings and accuracy in security credentials issuance and authentication. This could be useful in government embassies and facilities, as well as in airports and other locations where security needs are high. The enrollment process for issuing ID credentials must still begin with a face-to-face encounter with an officer or agent of the issuing body. For example a passport, driver’s license or global entry pass requires the completion and transfer of data such as birth certificates, fingerprints, signature, etc. Biometric data capture can be performed automatically with the use of a machine, such as the Speed Identity kiosk, or by a trained security agent. A combination of the two can also be used to speed up the process. The security officer is usually vested with the skills to recognize human factors, such as nervousness, that provide subjective cues about an applicant’s authenticity, for example. While fingerprints and photographs are collected automatically, the officer’s attention can be focused on observing behaviors that a machine can’t see or understand. The real benefit of a self-service
ID kiosk is after the credentials have been issued – when they are checked at the point of entry to an airport terminal, area or building. Here, biometric data can be matched against a central database. Fingerprints can be quickly scanned and matched. A signature can be validated. Or a photo can be used for a facial recognition (FR) comparison. Many of the security functions enabled by the technology can take place seamlessly without the user’s explicit step-by-step direction because they occur in the background. Once an individual’s background and identity are vetted through the appropriate authoritative agencies, it won’t have to be done repeatedly. All of the work is done up front and subsequent screenings are virtually instantaneous. Gaining entry to a secure area – for example, a particular work area in a mission critical facility or location – can be done at an unattended gate, simply by requiring a quick fingerprint, iris scan, or FR comparison. The potential for unauthorized access, fraud and human error is reduced. Re-entering the US after a trip abroad can also be made faster and easier with self-service kiosks. Instead of manually completing a US customs form and handing it, with a passport, to a customs agent for checking, questions can be answered on an electronic screen and the passport can be authenticated at the same time. The machine does more than visual inspection of an ID credential – it can also scan for invisible security features. The time and labor savings can be invaluable. This technology is already being used at international points of entry. A common credential for government facilities and agencies could also be accommodated. This would allow authentication between agencies with a high degree of confidence. The migration to self-service kiosks will require planning. Traffic volume must be carefully considered when deciding how many machines to install and in what locations. They must be easy to find, and it’s important to install enough of them to prevent long lines. Bottlenecks would defeat their purpose of convenience, and discourage use. The interface and workflow are critical points for user adoption. The kiosk should be inviting and easy to use and understand. It’s possible for the interface to adjust workflow in accordance with the user’s demographic (age, for example). The user won’t realize it, but the speed of the question/answer workflow will be 23 adjusted to meet the user’s anticipated needs. Anti-fraud measures can be built in as well. Biometrics can be proofed with background adjudication. The interactive technology will detect inconsistencies and adjust the workflow to allow correction or to automatically abort an attempt. Conclusion The use of self-service kiosks for identity authentication will become commonplace in areas, like airports and government facilities, where a high degree of security is required. These new technologies will enable faster and more accurate checking of credentials, saving time and money and providing a new level of convenience to the users.