You’ve seen it done in movies a thousand times, the bad/good guy steals an identity badge and gains access to an installation and wreaks havoc/saves the day. How can such a thing be stopped? Biometrics of course! And this is exactly what the Army thought as well.
Currently in use in operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom is the Hand Held Interagency Identity Detection Equipment or HIIDE for short. According to the Army this system is used for a lot of different uses and has given great results, and it better have seeing as the Army gave a $71 million dollar contract to the manufacturer.
|HIIDE in Action in Iraq|
One example of how this program has helped was given by the Army and boy is it impressive.
Every day hundreds of people access U.S. military facilities; most are U.S. Army personnel, but some are employees of local contractors. And before these employees can enter they are biometrically scanned for fingerprints, iris and facial recognition. Today an employee comes to work as normal but one thing very different happens, he is detained for questioning instead of getting to work. How did this happen? Let’s look back one day.
The Army received intelligence of a suspected insurgent safe house that was immediately raided by a U.S. Army patrol. All of the family members were evacuated and their fingerprints, irises, and faces were scanned using the HIIDE, while the house was searched. Everything in the house appeared normal until the patrol discovered a hidden room with evidence of bomb making activity. The family was questioned about it and everyone claimed they had no knowledge of the hidden room.
Unfortunately for one of the “family” members, two sets of fingerprints were found in the hidden room and one belonged to one of the detained “family” members. As soon as the insurgent was removed from the rest of the family, they tell the Army interrogators that two insurgents were using the room and threatened to kill them if they said anything. And now one insurgent was in custody. But what about the other one? Remember that employee that was detained?
Since the employee had access to a U.S. military facility, his fingerprints were in the database and were quickly matched with those scanned at the bomb making site and thus he was detained the next time he went to work.
That is a major situation avoided by use of biometrics. It’s great that the Army recognized the value of Biometrics and started using them to ensure the safety of their bases and installations.
Quick side note: the site where I found the image states “Sgt. Nike Ferzacca is obtaining a retinal scan of an Iraqi.” See anything wrong with that statement? I mentioned that the HIIDE has iris scanning not retinal scanning. It is interesting to see that even on “The Official Homepage of the United States Army” they make a mistake between iris and retinal scanners. The distinction between the two will be addressed in the future, so you never make the same mistake.