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IBM Looks Airline Security in the Eye

Signs Agreement With Schiphol Group to Bring Biometric Iris Scanning System to Airlines and Airports

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. & AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands--April 25, 2002--IBM is joining with Schiphol Group of Amsterdam to offer airlines and airports around the world a quick security access system that uses biometric iris scanning technology.

The new offering will be based on the existing Automatic Border Passage (ABP) system Schiphol Group has deployed at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. This system identifies and verifies travelers by cross referencing a real-time iris scan with the travelers' pre-registered iris data -- which is stored on an encrypted smart card. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol was the world's first airport to employ a new automatic border passage system using iris recognition for passengers in a high-security environment.

The ABP system, which has been in operation since October 2001, is currently used for identity verification and border passage functions, supplementary to manual passport control by the Dutch border police. It runs on IBM eServer xSeries and uses an IBM DB2 database to access non-biometric related passenger data. IBM will work with Schiphol Group to extend a subset of the biometric security features in this system so it can be used by airlines and airports for passenger identification and tracking in functions such as ticketing, check in, screening and boarding. Additionally, the companies plan to develop components of the technology to provide secure employee and staff access to restricted areas of travel and transportation facilities.

Editors Note: Photos of the current system used at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport are available at: (Due to the length of this URL, it may be necessary to copy and paste this hyperlink into your Internet browser's URL address field.)

Demonstrations can also be arranged on site at Schiphol Airport.

Under terms of the agreement, IBM will team with Schiphol Group to market the new solution to airlines and airports. It will also perform all systems integration for the solution, provide the necessary hardware and software, and assist Schiphol Group in modifying the system to develop new solutions and security components to meet evolving security requirements. The core security solution behind Schiphol Group's Automatic Border Passage system will be supplied through a joint venture Schiphol Group has formed with Joh. Enschede Security Solutions B.V., a specialist Dutch security solutions company that supplied the technology for iris recognition and storage of iris information on smart cards. Schiphol Group is the intellectual proprietor of the border passage concept employing iris recognition.

"IBM's worldwide reach, systems integration skills and airline industry insight and expertise make it the ideal company to help us deploy this biometric technology for airport security, enabling a sense of security and convenience for today's travelers,'' said Pieter Verboom, CFO of Schiphol Group.

"The system's ability to process four-to-five people per minute and provide highly reliable, machine-made decisions on whether the person actually is who he or she claims to be, will go a long way towards meeting travelers' demands for security, convenience and speed, '' said Mike Hulley, general manager, IBM Global Travel & Transportation Industry group.

The security procedure for this solution involves two phases. In the first phase, the traveler is qualified and registered. This process, which includes a passport review, background check, and iris scan that is encrypted and embedded on a smart card, usually takes about 15 minutes. Currently the solution at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is offered to members of Privium, the airport's new service programme open to holders of European Economic Area passports (EU countries plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) that is independent of airline frequent flier programs. Currently, some 2,500 people are using the Privium service programme. IBM and Schiphol Group have indicated that this model can be varied at new installations as the customer and circumstances demand.

The second phase identifies and verifies the registered traveler at the border passage checkpoint. This is done when the traveler approaches a gated kiosk and inserts a smart card in the kiosk card reader. The system reads the smart card and allows valid registered travelers to enter an isolated area. The traveler then looks into an iris scan camera so that the iris can be matched with the data on the smartcard. If a successful match is obtained, the passenger can continue to the gate. If the biometric analysis fails, or the traveler's passage is not authorized by any external system link, the automatic gate directs the traveler to the front of the queue for the standard manual passport check. The entire automatic border passage procedure is typically completed in about 10-15 seconds.

By adding dedicated software to the iris scanner's standard software, Schiphol Group has designed the system so that it does not use a database but can receive data from a smartcard chip, which means there is no sharing of the iris information. The use of individual smart cards to hold the biometric data rather than a biometrics database, coupled with the fact that program enrollment is voluntary, has eased concerns about privacy. Due to a strict separation of data on the chip, the card reader is also able to read the Dutch Border Police data independently from the biometric information, further easing privacy concerns.

"We chose iris biometric technology because of its security and reliability as well as the fact that it is a non-contact system,'' said Verboom. The core iris scanning technology has been enhanced by Johan Enschede Security Solutions to ensure high performance and accuracy. Consequently the verification process has been drastically improved and currently is about 50 percent faster than the standard software. Additionally since the system involves no physical contact, such as fingerprint or hand geometry biometrics, there are no concerns regarding hygienics and no extra time is required for cleaning and maintenance of the unit.

About Schiphol Group
Schiphol Group is an airport operator headquartered in the Netherlands. The airport company is primarily involved in developing "AirportCities'' to create sustainable value for its stakeholders. Its goal is to become a leading international airport operator with a worldwide network of AirportCities. Schiphol Group's corporate vision is that airports are not simply boarding or transfer areas. An airport is like a modern city, a dynamic traffic hub where people and businesses, logistics and information, entertainment and shopping meet. Just as in a city, worlds meet at an airport. The company creates and develops AirportCities on the basis of a well-thought out, visitor-driven perspective, which assumes that an airport should not only be a perfect stop in the travel process but a unique experience.

Schiphol Group's showpiece is Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Besides Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Schiphol Group operates and owns the regional Dutch airports of Rotterdam and Lelystad Airport and holds 51 percent of the share in Eindhoven Airport. The group also operates internationally, including Terminal 4 at JFK Airport in New York and Brisbane Airport in Australia. For more information on the Privium service program, visit

About IBM
IBM is tapping the systems integration skills of IBM Global Services, the technology in its hardware and software product divisions, its broad expertise with airports, airlines and government entities, its renowned IBM Research Labs, as well as collaborations with companies, such as Schiphol Group; to explore ways information technology can be used to enhance travel-related security. In addition to working closely with airports and government organizations worldwide, IBM has been involved with the airline industry since the 1960s, and today supplies information technology to virtually every major airline in the world. For more information on IBM's offerings for the travel and transportation industries, visit

# # #
The current Automatic Border Passage solution consists of the following components:

Iris recognition module. This is based on the LG2200 camera with core software components plus dedicated software added to allow the system to exchange encrypted biometric data with a smartcard instead of a database. Additionally, the standard iris framegrabber configuration is modified to allow for more efficient use in a single PC kiosk environment.

Security concept: The communication with external databases (housing general Privium membership info) and smartcard are part of a total security concept that was audited by TNO (Netherlands Technology Research Institute). Schiphol Group developed the concept in close co-operation with the Dutch Border Police (Koninklijke Marechaussee) and the Department of Naturalization and Immigration (IND) in the Netherlands. Schiphol Group is the intellectual proprietor of the automatic border passage system employing iris recognition.

Central Control Application: Dedicated software was developed for the system that controls the whole process. It receives information from all components of the central system. This component handles system exceptions.

Gates: The gate design is patented by Schiphol Group and allows easy access to passengers with hand baggage, whilst ensuring that passengers cannot bypass the system without clearance from the biometric reader. In the event of a failure to validate, the passenger is physically directed sideways out of the security system in front of a Dutch border police guard for a manual passport check.

Smartcard storage: Biometric and personal data are stored and read from the smartcard. The data is encrypted on the card and protected from fraudulent use. The smart card has the capacity to accept two forms of biometric identification.

Smartcards. : A Schlumberger TB200 2K card is currently used.

The system is designed in accordance with IEEE development standards for mission critical systems. Thus, system modifications can be developed in a controlled way ensuring the maintenance of original quality standards.
Data is encrypted using the 3 DES algorithm.

The IBM eServer brand consists of the established IBM e-business logo with the following descriptive term "server'' following it. IBM, and DB2 are trademarks of IBM Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Other company, product, and service names may be the trademarks or service marks of others.

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