Nova Scotia

Halifax port security to scan veins in hands

The Port of Halifax will soon beef up its security by scanning the veins in people's hands before allowing them to enter through the gates.

The Port of Halifax will soon beef up its security by scanning the veins in employees' hands before allowing them to enter throughits gates.

The port will usea new personal identification system known as vascular biometrics, and Colin Wright, of Identica Canada Corp. in Toronto, says it's much safer than scanning people's eyes.

He said people can fool machines that examine the iris.

"You get a picture of someone very close up and reproduce a picture of their eye, and reproduce it on a fake contact lens, and you become them," Wrightexplained Thursday.

Identica's vascular pattern-recognition technologytakes a picture of how theveins are laid out in the back of a person's hand.

"It will read the biometric signature of their hands off the card and then ask them for their hand, and match their hand to what was stored on the card," Wright said.

"So, you are guaranteed the person carrying the card is the person it was issued to."

Wright showed the system at Defsec Atlantic, a defence security conference and trade show, in Halifax this week.

"We all realized that vascular biometrics was the only thing that was going to work in a port environment," he said.

Identica and the Port of Halifax signed an agreement for the new technology last month.

By November, security guards at the port will be using infrared machines to scan the hands of all employees coming to work.

Wright said his company's biometric system has been tested in the United States, where 17 sets of identical twins could not fool it.