Wireless Systems Design

Biometrics Takes Satellite Ride

The government has long relied upon satellites to enhance security efforts and deepen investigations. In a new twist, it will soon be able to use satellite systems to send and receive biometrics data. In conjunction with Sun Microsystems (www.sun.com) and AC Technology (www.actechnology.com), Hughes Net-work Systems (www.hns.com) is working to certify and optimize biometrics data transmission. The transmissions utilize HNS' DIRECWAY broadband satellite system.

The project integrates Sun Microsystems' Sun Ray remote-access terminals with AC Technology's BiObex middleware for biometrics applications. The terminals will then be optimized for transmission using DIRECWAY. Through integration and certification, the companies hope to optimize all biometrics applications to work on broadband satellite platforms. They also want to encourage biometrics application developers to take advantage of satellites' expanded functionality.

This news follows announcements that were made earlier this year by Sun Microsystems, AC Technology, and Cross Match Technologies. They announced a high-security logon solution that merged biometrics information with Java-technology-enabled smart-card solutions. This solution combines AC Technology's BiObex Software, Cross Match Tech-nologies' Verifier E Fingerprint Scanning device, and the Sun Ray system. It marks the first forensic-quality, biometric-authentication solution in a UNIX environment that adheres to National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standards.

The solution targets a multitude of security applications: fingerprint, iris, and facial-characteristic scanning at borders and airports; freight inspection at ports; safety enhancements at oil and gas facilities; and a wide variety of uses in law enforcement, forensics, and investigative work. It should help federal, state, and local agencies—as well as some entities in the private sector—to better manage, monitor, and act upon the information that they collect at various sites.

The new applications will be tested and optimized for use over HNS' DIRECWAY service. Certification also will include SPACEWAY, the company's next-generation broadband satellite system.

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