DHS takes biometric IDs to cloud.

AMERICA’S Homeland Security Department is looking to upgrade the software it uses to manage biometric and biographic data on 250 million people, and it plans to store those identifiers – including fingerprints, irises and faces, DNA, palm prints, scars and tattoos – in Amazon cloud.

The DHS’ Office of Biometric Identification Management will replace the current Automated Biometric Identification System, or IDENT, which holds biometric and biographic data collected by the Transportation Security Administration, Customs and Border Protection and the Secret Service. The system links fingerprint, iris and face data to biographic information, allowing officials to quickly identify suspected terrorists, immigration violators, criminals.

DHS’ proposed Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology System, or HART, will include the same biometric recognition features as its predecessor, and potentially additional tools that could identify individuals based on DNA, palm prints, scars, physical markings and tattoos.

According to DHS, “HART will reside in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) FedRAMP certified GovCloud.” Further, “biometric matching capabilities for fingerprint, iris, and facial matching will be integrated with HART in the Amazon Web Services GovCloud.”

Amazon Web Services’ GovCloud US-East and US-West regions are data centers built by the company to house some of the government’s most restricted information. AWS currently supports the CIA, Defense Department, NASA and other federal agencies.

The shift underscores a recognition that centralised management delivers better results for secure networks than fragmented solutions which may not conform to security procedures.