US GAO finds DHS lagging behind in developing biometric exit technology for airports

20 January 2016 (Last Updated January 20th, 2016 18:30)

US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the country has been facing long-standing challenges in developing a biometric exit system to ensure effective airport exit security.

US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the country has been facing long-standing challenges in developing a biometric exit system to ensure effective airport exit security.

GAO has issued a report that reads: "In July 2013, GAO reported that DHS had not fulfilled statutory requirements to implement a biometric exit capability and report data on overstays.

"As of January 2016, DHS has planning efforts underway but has not yet met these statutory requirements."

"As of January 2016, DHS has planning efforts underway but has not yet met these statutory requirements."

The DHS had reported suggestions for installing biometric exit equipment at the airports in May 2012, which has not yet been fulfilled.

Officials at the US Customs and Border Protection have informed GAO earlier this month that an evaluation framework is being developed.

DHS has been implementing several tests for evaluation of the technologies, which included use of a handheld mobile device for collecting biographic and biometric exit data from randomly-selected, foreign national travellers at ten selected airports in July 2015.

The federal agencies have not completed developing the metrics for the evaluation entirely, in spite of the ongoing efforts.

"GAO found that, without robust planning that includes time frames and milestones to develop and implement an evaluation framework, DHS lacked reasonable assurance that it would be able to provide an assessment to Congress as planned," the report added.

GAO has recommended DHS to establish time frames and milestones for implementation of the technology and to conclude framing the evaluation and reliability standards as early as possible.