DoD, DHS to share biometrics

Monday - 3/21/2011, 6:54pm EDT

The Department of Homeland Security already has real-time access to biometric data maintained in the FBI's huge database of criminal records. Soon, agency officials say they'll be able to share similar data with the Defense Department. Biometric information - mainly fingerprints - can be shared between DHS databases and the criminal records the FBI holds at its Criminal Justice Information Services Division in West Virginia. DoD's database will be in the loop within the next year - among other things - letting customs and immigration officials instantly know if someone trying to enter the country has been on the battlefield against the US military. The technology could potentially come into play even if the Defense Department hasn't positively identified that person. That's because the database also includes latent fingerprints taken from improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afganistan. DoD and DHS say it'll be a big improvement over the limited information sharing they conduct now, using slow, manual processes.