• United States

London’s City Airport puts trust in biometrics

Jun 04, 20033 mins
Access ControlEnterprise Applications

* Identifying with Daon Security

CNN carried a story recently about a new identity management scheme at London’s City Airport. What’s involved is a new, biometric authentication system for the airport’s 1,600-strong workforce. You can read the story at CNN’s Web site (see link below) but the real meat of a potentially better story hasn’t been broadcast yet.

The London City Airport application was rolled out by Ireland’s Daon Security ( which describes itself as a “biometric identity management company.” Its offerings are based on a technology it calls Biometric Trust Infrastructure (BTI). BTI could be called a federated biometric infrastructure, but Daon describes it as a scheme to allow a person “to maintain his/her authenticated security clearance across multiple sites.”

In light of my recent discussion of airport travel (“Have identity cards, will travel” it appears I’ve found a kindred soul. While the London City Airport program is restricted to staff only, it evidently could scale to include passengers also. Throw in Daon’s BTI and you should be able to add the passengers at Gatwick, Stansted and Heathrow to the mix. Maybe not all at once, of course. A little at a time would work.

Scaling across a metropolitan area isn’t all that difficult. In a short period of time, my biometric credentials should allow me quick and easy access to any of the planes at any of London’s airports. The real kicker would be scaling so that I could just as easily return to London from New York, Rome, Tokyo or Mombassa.

You can get a taste for the way Daon’s technology works by signing up for a free 30-day trial of Daon for Windows. You could also download the Daon for Windows demo and, of course, read the Daon for Windows white paper.

Daon’s second area of concentration is in electronic signatures, especially signatures guaranteed by biometric authentication. The company is very active with the pharmaceutical industry and is slowly helping to bring government entities such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration into at least the 20th century if not all the way to the 21st.

As a stand-alone biometric authentication system, I don’t believe the Doan technology is significantly better than other systems currently available. The difference comes in the scalability of the system plus the federated nature of BTI. There’s also the point that the company agrees with my view about speeding people through airports (refer again to the “Have identity cards, will travel” newsletter). That may not be important to you but it does show me that Daon’s thinking of useful services for identity management technologies and that’s something to be encouraged.