ImageWare Unveils Biometric Disaster Management Credentialing Solution

July 26, 2006
IWS Disaster Management Solution employs biometrics to credential responders, focuses on mission-critical needs

SAN DIEGO - ImageWare Systems, Inc. (AMEX:IW), a leading developer and provider of identity management solutions, today announced the company continues to deliver comprehensive identity management capabilities with the launch of its IWS Disaster Management solution suite designed specifically to address mission-critical disaster recovery and emergency management initiatives.

Over the past decade, the number of 'natural' and technological disasters have risen with an average of 303 million people affected and damage estimated at $67 billion per year in the U.S., according to an International Federation of Red Cross World Disaster Report. In 2005, for example, the U.S. suffered one of its worst natural disasters in history with Hurricane Katrina, causing millions of dollars worth of destruction, displaced lives as well as improper and fraudulent payments. ImageWare has extensive experience in the development of large-scale public and private identification and ID management related programs that addresses these challenges to help reduce fraud and improve the identification and verification processes.

"ImageWare has the depth of expertise emergency response organizations need to develop and deploy a highly-effective disaster identity management strategy that can be executed across multiple levels of government, jurisdictions and multiple first responder disciplines," said Jim Miller, ImageWare's chairman and CEO. "We are committed to helping our worldwide disaster and incident responders implement a more effective effort to help prepare for, respond to, and recover from any emergency crisis whether it be natural or technological."

IWS Disaster Management is a feature-rich disaster identity management solution suite that incorporates ImageWare's IWS(TM) Biometric Engine(TM) and Identity Management technologies for the secure credentialing of first responders and volunteers, biographical and biometric identification of displaced victims, as well as the ability to conduct comprehensive biometric and text-based searches to help identify missing and deceased victims. IWS Disaster Management operates at any scale, from state and local to regional, national and international disaster levels.

Specific modules of the IWS Disaster Management Solution include:

IWS Disaster Infrastructure Identification Module

The IWS Disaster Infrastructure Identification module enables first responders and government agencies the flexibility to make use of any desired options such as identity proofing and enrollment, watch list detection, secure card production and issuance, biometric and text based identity searching or maintenance and access controls for highly secure environments. With the option of leveraging ImageWare's Interoperable PIV solution, the IWS Disaster Infrastructure Identification module will support the production for a universal secure credential that complies with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Federal Information Processing 201 (FIPS-201) requirements of the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12), a directive mandating a common identification standard for all Federal government employees and contractors. This support improves the coordination and accountability of first responders and volunteers involved in and around a disaster scene through proper validation and production of secure credentials.

IWS Disaster Displacement Identification Module

Establishing an infrastructure with technology in place to handle biometric identification and authentication procedures with secure credentialing capabilities for relief victims and refugees is necessary towards minimizing security concerns and improving the accuracy and response times for victim relief such as funding, medical supplies, insurance, living assistance, among other relief requirements. The Disaster Displacement Identification module enables agencies to quickly deploy a victim relief assistance program that is mobile, scalable and customizable for managing the identity and secure credentialing of displaced victims, refugees and homeless while minimizing fraud and improving response times for financial disbursements.

IWS Disaster Victim Identification Module

One of the most painstaking processes that first responders and emergency management agencies go through in response to a disaster situation is identifying and tracking down the location and status of the missing and deceased. For example, the Indonesian Tsunami disaster in 2004 saw nearly 1.5 million displaced victims suffering nearly 300,000 deaths of citizens from over 50 countries.

Equipping first responders and emergency agencies with the ability to collect and enroll biometric and biographical data on missing and deceased victims along with providing effective means of sharing this data with the global community is paramount towards achieving closure for those searching for lost loved ones. The Disaster Victim Identification module addresses the challenges associated with locating the missing and deceased victims. It allows first responder organizations the ability deploy a comprehensive disaster victim identification program that enables the enrollment and searching of multiple biometrics, images, text records and personal demographic information such as sex, age, height and weight. This critical data can then be shared with participating agencies to further streamline the identification process and improve the search and rescue measures for tracking missing or deceased loved ones.

Additional features and functionality of the IWS Disaster Management Solution includes:

-- Multi-biometric enrollment, identification and verification

-- Exhaustive searching capabilities (1:1, 1:N, X:N, and N:N)

-- Support for more than 90 biometric devices and 60 biometric algorithms

-- Biometric enrollment and identity proofing with Smart Card encoding of biometrics

-- Flexible models of central or distributed issuance of credentials

-- Mobile field acquisition, enrollment and matching of multiple biometrics

-- Submission of demographic and biographic data to investigative bureaus for background checks prior to card issuance or granting victim relief assistance

-- Customized interconnectivity and data conversions to multiple systems or agencies

-- Compliance with NIST FIPS 201 PIV requirements

ImageWare is constantly evaluating areas in which the company can assist organizations worldwide on addressing the needs of creating proper credentials, and enrolling and identifying the countless number of victims affected from large-scale disasters. ImageWare's identity management technologies have been successfully deployed domestically and internationally by emergency management agencies such as FEMA and the Tsunami Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) team in Phuket, Thailand. In support of Hurricane Katrina, FEMA utilized ImageWare's secure credentialing solution to effectively control disaster zones while managing FEMA employees and volunteers. Internationally, ImageWare provided a mobile identification solution that includes biometric capabilities that helped the Tsunami DVI team identify missing and unidentified disaster victims. In addition, the Mexican government is currently using ImageWare's multi-biometric identity management solution to assist its citizens in the identification of missing and deceased loved ones who have crossed the border into the U.S. This system is the first to incorporate four biometrics including face, finger, signature and DNA.

The IWS Disaster Management Solution suite is immediately available worldwide. For more information, please e-mail [email protected] or call 800-842-4199.

About ImageWare Systems, Inc.

ImageWare Systems, Inc. (AMEX:IW) is a leading developer and provider of identity management solutions, providing biometric, secure credential, law enforcement and digital imaging technologies. Scalable for worldwide deployment, the Company's biometric product line includes a multi-biometric engine that is hardware and algorithm independent, enabling the enrollment and management of unlimited population sizes. ImageWare's identification products are used to manage and issue secure credentials including national IDs, passports, driver licenses, smart cards and access control credentials. ImageWare's digital booking products provide law enforcement with integrated mug shot, fingerprint Livescan and investigative capabilities. The Company also provides comprehensive digital workflow solutions for the professional photography industry. ImageWare is headquartered in San Diego, with offices in Washington DC and Canada. For more information visit