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FAA to trial smart cards

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will begin a trial deployment of smart cards later in the year in a bid to establish a smart card standard for agencies within the US Department of Transportation.

The FAA will invite vendors to submit ideas and bids to work on the smart card deployment in the next few weeks, Tammy Jones, an FAA spokeswoman, said. Once these proposals are returned, the agency will select one and deploy a pilot smart card system, she said.

The deployment is part of an effort underway within the Department of Transportation (DOT) to arrive at a common smart card standard that could then be used in all DOT agencies, she said. The FAA, which is a part of the DOT, is working on the standard along with the Transportation Security Administration, Jones added.

The smart cards will initially be used as identification cards, but will eventually be used to store biometric information, such as fingerprints, to be used for authentication, she said.

Biometrics have come under fire in recent weeks after a Japanese researcher was able to defeat 11 fingerprint readers 80% of the time using a fake finger made of gelatine and latent fingerprints lifted from glass. Jones had no comment to make on that study.

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