22 Apr 2019
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Keeping an Eye on Things

Biometric identification is using science and technology to make the world more secure

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Carol Lucas (GMP 16, 2014) is a strategic planner for the US government, working in the field of biometric identity management. In this interview she discusses her role and the critical nature of the work she oversees.

“I work in the area of biometric identity management. We are in such an exciting time now because there are many modalities that are emerging. The science and technology is accelerating for facial, iris, and there are many other physical characteristics that are still in the research and development arena, such as gait, ear lobes, even vein patterns.

“The use of biometric data is so important for safety and security, as well as citizen transactions throughout the globe. For instance, biometric information is collected when people apply for US visas. We see many uses in terms of safety, security, and protection. We do know that biometric information is very useful in combating terrorism.

“We are responsible for maintaining a gallery of biometric information and then performing the matching and the analysis, sometimes within milliseconds. And we do know that much of the work that we do verifying does help law enforcement identify terrorists. The organization I work with maintains the largest repository of biometric information within the United States. It contains over 200 million unique identities, and that number is growing. And we perform over 300,000 transactions a day.

“GMP drove home for me the realization that strategy is a series of informed choices. Framing the discussion is the responsibility of leaders. And it's one thing that leaders must do and the one thing that only leaders can do. The role I serve in is a privilege. To work with leaders to frame the discussion around ways that we can keep the nation safe and secure—not only for the citizens of this country, but also for the globe.”

(Published April 2019)

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