OBIM seeking next-generation biometric technologies
12 November 2014 15:53 GMT

OBIM analyses biometric data to identify/enrol identities for the DHS.

The Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM) at the US’s Department of Homeland Security is seeking information on the emerging biometrics technologies and services that could replace its current system.

In a request for information (RFI), OBIM says it wants to collect information from the industry on current and near future technologies, because it is “proactively addressing its next-generation architecture and capabilities for replacing the current biometric system”.

“The vision represents a major investment to ensure that OBIM can continue to accommodate the expected growth of populations and new applications of multimodal biometric identity screening,” said OBIM.

OBIM stores and analyses biometric data, digital fingerprints and photographs, and links tha tdata with biographic information to identify and enrol identities for the DHS.

It uses the Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) to determine whether individuals pose a risk to the United States, and whether they meet the requirements for a specific benefit.

As of September 2014, IDENT contained more than 170 million biometric identities. It also handled approximately 290,000 transactions per day to support multiple DHS Components as well as DHS mission partners.   

A senior OBIM official confirmed to Planet Biometrics at the Global Identity Summit in Tampa that month that OBIM will receive US$20 million in extra funding to keep its existing identification system operating while a new database is developed.

The current system would be overloaded should the level reach 375,000 daily queries, while above 400,000 transactions there will be further degradation - with a possible impact on response times – said the OBIM official.

The DHS is expected to move forward with a new database within the next two to four years, with any new system expected to incorporate multiple biometrics such as finger, iris, voice recognition or even DNA if there is perceived to be a customer need.

This approach is confirmed in last week’s RFI, which says OBIM is seeking: “Approaches and architectures for leveraging multiple biometric modalities in very large-scale systems to improve accuracy and identity assurance and to decrease failure-to-enroll rates.

“OBIM is requesting information on a system through the application of state- of-the-art techniques  that can improve the accuracy and efficiency of its biographic pre-verify services. OBIM is interested in various approaches for using biographic information to assist in the deconfliction and disambiguation of identity information.”

The department says that interested parties should submit responses no later than 5 December, and submit questions no later than 14 November.

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