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by Paul Kerstein

Lufthansa Systems Demos Biometric ID System

Oct 12, 20052 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Two German companies have developed a new biometric system for identifying airline passengers during the boarding process.

Lufthansa Systems Group GmbH, the IT services arm of German airlineLufthansa AG, and high-security document producer Bundesdruckerei GmbHare demonstrating their jointly developed SecBoard system at theInterAirport trade show in Munich through Oct. 14.

The system, designed to conduct biometric checks on passengers prior toboarding an aircraft, will play a significant role in the introductionof “trusted passenger” programs planned by the airline industry toincrease aviation security, the two companies said Tuesday.

Passengers with an electronically readable identity card containingbiometric data will also benefit from technology: they will be able tomove through airport security points more quickly and easily thantravelers without cards, the companies said.

The SecBoard system consists of two parts. The first part isregistration. At an enrollment station, passengers’ fingerprints arerecorded, digitized and stored on a smart card, which only needs to beissued once but can be used again in all future flights. In addition tothe fingerprint data, the card contains a photo of the passenger,personal information and a serial number. At check-in, the serialnumber is linked to the check-in data.

The second part of the system is the boarding station between check-inand the aircraft, where a fingerprint check is conducted. Thefingerprint data from this check is compared with the fingerprint datastored in the card. If the data matches, the passenger can board theaircraft.

The digitally stored fingerprints are linked to a single person,counterfeit proof and protected against unauthorized access through theso-called Basic Access Control method, which has been developed for thenew German biometric passports, according to Lufthansa Systems.

In June, the German government took a big step in the battle againstorganized crime and terrorism by unveiling plans to introduce a newpassport with a chip that contains biometric data next month, in a moveto be among the first in Europe to issue biometric passes.

The new passport, valid for 10 years, will include an embedded RFID(radio frequency identification) chip that will initially store adigital photo of the passport holder’s face. Starting in March 2007,the holder’s left and right index fingerprints will also be stored onthe chip.

By John Blau – IDG News Service (D?sseldorf Bureau)