An upcoming software update from the federal government could stop criminals from accessing a passport in the event of an emergency, a government official said.
The update, which was released Tuesday and will go live to all users of the U.S. government’s passport information system, will “prevent individuals from obtaining a passport when the passport holder is at an administrative or security risk or when the holder has reason to suspect that an act of terrorism may occur,” according to a release from the Federal Government Accountability Office (FGAO).
The software will work in tandem with existing security features, such as the fingerprint and face scan technology, to “precisely identify the person who has committed the act of passport fraud, preventing them from obtaining the passport,” according the release.
The software will also provide “an alternative for individuals who want to access passport information for security purposes,” it added.
If an individual is caught by the software, they will have to enter their Social Security Number, date of birth, and address, and then click “submit,” and the application will be validated and sent to the IRS.
“The IRS will receive the information and provide the person with a certificate that they have successfully verified the information provided,” the release said.
A DHS spokesman declined to comment on the update.
A government official, who requested anonymity to discuss internal communications, told TechRadars that the update would help prevent people who are attempting to get their fingerprints, photographs, or other personal information stolen from the passport system from obtaining passports.
The official noted that the IRS is “currently working on ways to mitigate this vulnerability in the future.”
The official did not elaborate on the changes.
In addition to the software update, the U-S.
Citizenship and Immigration Services has also begun rolling out new fingerprint and facial recognition technology.
Fingerprint scanners have been used by law enforcement agencies since the early 2000s, but the technology has become a big security concern since terrorists could now use them to steal a person’s identity and get onto a passport.
In a press release issued Wednesday, the FBI noted that a recent study showed that people with biometric technologies were more likely to commit fraud and be more likely than those without to get caught.
According to the release, fingerprint scanners will now be used to help “help police identify the offender” by providing “a unique and uniquely identifying identification number.”
“Fingerprints are unique and unique,” the FGAO report said.
“A fingerprint scanner is unique in that it has no physical presence, so its fingerprints can’t be easily compared to prints that would have been found in a crime scene or at a crime lab.”
The technology has also been blamed for helping thieves and others “recreate” their crime scenes using their biometric ID.