TSA chooses Nashville company as fingerprint vendor for states

| 1/12/2005

The Transportation Security Administration has chosen Integrated Biometric Technologies as the private vendor for states wanting to contract out fingerprint-based background checks for hazmat drivers.

TSA spokeswoman Deirdre O’Sullivan confirmed Jan. 12 that the federal agency had selected the Nashville, TN, company over other bidders in December. The decision came at the end of an open bidding process.

For months, the buzz in the trucking community was that USIS – previously known as DAC Services – might be selected to conduct the checks. However, that company was not selected, and O’Sullivan said federal regulations prohibited her from saying whether they were among the bidders.

Under USA Patriot Act regulations, all CDL holders must submit their fingerprints and obtain a security clearance from the TSA before they can be issued a new or renewed CDL with an endorsement for hauling hazardous materials.

Each state can choose to collect information and fingerprints on its own or hire the federally approved vendor. O’Sullivan said about 40 percent of states planned to conduct the collection themselves, but 60 percent planned to use Integrated Biometric Technologies. The list of states and how each will conduct fingerprint collection was not available by press time. TSA plans to release that list by the end of January.

The Oregon Department of Transportation said in December that it had chosen the Integrated Biometric Technologies to conduct its hazmat checks. The company will gather the necessary information from applicants, collect fingerprints and charge the established fees. The cost of the checks in Oregon has not yet been announced.

The Nashville company’s system electronically scans fingerprints. Truckers would simply put their hand into a sensor; it would scan their hand and place the prints in an electronic file. The files, along with their other information, would be sent to the TSA, which O’Sullivan said would conduct the actual check.

The company was chosen, O’Sullivan said, based on the bidding process.

Safeguarding the privacy of truck drivers’ information “was one of the issues we looked at very closely” when TSA was in the process of choosing the vendor, O’Sullivan said. Privacy rules keep her from saying whether IBT had the best record or system to safeguard that private information; however, she said “We don’t go into a lot of the details regarding our procurement decision; the only thing I can advise you is that they did represent the best value to the federal government.”

“One of the goals, certainly, of the program is to make sure that personal information is protected,” she said. “I think that is an enormous concern of both TSA and, I’m sure, the average truck driver. To ensure that this information is protected is one of our highest priorities.”

Integrated Biometric Technologies’ Web site states both the company’s hardware and software meet the FBI’s specifications as to image quality, compression and file transfer protocol.

Other clients of the company include the U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command; Florida Departments of Education and Insurance; U.S. Virgin Islands Airports; JPMorgan/Chase Manhattan Bank; CitiGroup; FleetBoston; and others.

– By Mark H. Reddig, associate editor

Land Line Managing Editor Sandi Soendker contributed to this report.