The Coast Guard is seeking comment on a proposal for the voluntary use of equipment to read Transportation Worker Identification Credentials.
The reader, an electronic device that reads the biometric data embedded on a TWIC, has been the object of prolonged pilot testing by the Department of Homeland Security. The delay has caused critics to complain that the TWIC has become an expensive photo ID card.
The Coast Guard will issue a rule requiring the use of readers after testing is done. The proposal published in Thursday's Federal Register outlines ways that ports or vessels may use the readers before the final rule is issued.
Readers may be used to verify a holder's identity by comparing fingerprints with data embedded in the card. Readers also can be used to authenticate a TWIC, and check its validity.
The Coast Guard and Transportation Security Administration published a list of readers that passed preliminary testing. However, the agency notes that some readers may no longer be valid after final rules are published.
The deadline for comments is May 16.
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