The Israeli military is to install a secure identification system, based on biometric and contactless (RFID) smart card technology at a critical Gaza checkpoint in January 2004, to speed up passage while limiting friction between Palestinian workers and soldiers.
The Basel System, being installed at the Erez checkpoint, was developed by the Israeli firm, On Track Innovations (OTI). It makes use of two biometric sensors to read the facial dimensions and hand geometry of Palestinian workers crossing through the checkpoint.
The checkpoint, at the northern end of the Gaza Strip, is the main crossing into Israel for Palestinian workers. Before violence erupted in September 2000, tens of thousands of workers crossed every day. But since then Israel has restricted entrance due to concerns about terrorists getting into the country disguised as workers. The current method of access control involves lengthy interrogations, and many legitimate workers are complaining about the long delays to which they are subjected. Currently there are 10,000 Palestinian workers who cross regularly into Israel from the Gaza Strip.
Speed and Security
OTI’s system was designed to increase security while speeding up the check at the same time. “The Basel System will significantly improve security, speed, and the relationship between Palestinian workers and the soldiers,” said Ohad Bashan, OTI’s director of global marketing. “The Palestinians crossing will not need to be interrogated.”
Each worker will now carry a contactless smart card that will be scanned and matched against their biometric profile. OTI’s device takes between four and nine seconds to check each worker. According to Bashan, the dual biometric system is quicker than other systems that check handprints and retinas to identify people.
Israel’s Defense Ministry contracted Electronic Data Systems to install a system that would ensure that Palestinians who pose a security risk would not be able to get through the checkpoint. EDS in turn subcontracted OTI, which ordinarily specialises in smart card and contactless technology. The Defense Ministry stipulated that the system should include two biometric checks to guarantee reliability.
Interestingly, US anti-terror funds were used for the development of the Basel System, although the precise amount involved has not been disclosed.
Source: On Track Innovations Ltd.
Copyright 2003 UsingRFID.com
Reprinted with permission from Using RFID (http://www.usingrfid.com/news)
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