Canadian Air Transport Security Authority

Canadian Air Transport Security Authority

August 23, 2007 07:00 ET

Restricted Area Identity Card Garners the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority the 2007 Microsoft Technology Innovation Award

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Aug. 23, 2007) - During the Gala Awards Night to close the annual Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) Conference, representatives from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) were presented the 2007 Microsoft Technology Innovation Award for work on the Restricted Area Identity Card (RAIC) project - an innovative solution involving a biometric identification card for airport workers that has made a significant impact on public safety at Canada's airports.

"As a world leader in aviation security, CATSA is honoured to accept the 2007 Microsoft Technology Innovation Award," remarked Jacques Duchesneau, CATSA President and Chief Executive Officer. "In partnership with Transport Canada and the airport authorities, we have created the world's first dual biometric identification system to be used in an airport environment. I am proud that the RAIC Team's ground breaking work is being recognized by Microsoft and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police."

Members of the RAIC project team were on hand to accept the Award that was co-presented by Saskatoon Police Service Chief Clive Weighill, Co-Chair of the CACP Informatics Committee, along with Mr. Craig Sisson, Director, Municipal Public Sector and Public Safety and Security, Microsoft Canada.

"Congratulations to CATSA on receiving the 2007 Microsoft Technology Innovation Award," said Chief Weighill. "The award-winning Restricted Area Identity Card project and the five additional initiatives bestowed with an honourable mention are representative of innovative work across the country. The individuals and teams recognized tonight should be proud of their efforts to encourage, promote and incorporate new ideas demonstrating creativity and innovation in using technology to advance public safety."

In total, six organizations were recognized by the national award program. In addition to CATSA accepting the top award, the following initiatives (in alphabetical order) received an Honourable Mention:

- Handheld Mobile Data Terminal, London Police Service

- Missing Person Unidentified Bodies Analytical Database, Ontario Provincial Police

- National Emergency Stock Portable Trunking System, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

- Parolee Mapping, Edmonton Police Service and Correctional Service of Canada

- Police Performance & Development System, Fredericton Police Force

"Microsoft Canada is proud to be a part of this effort to celebrate and recognize dedicated individuals and teams that advance Canadian public safety," remarked Craig Sisson, Director, Municipal Public Sector and Public Safety and Security, Microsoft Canada. "Technology can play a significant and powerful role in advancing Canadian public safety and frontline policing. For the six organizations being recognized in this year's Award program, congratulations on your innovations and commitment to public safety. On behalf of Microsoft Canada, I salute all those recognized here tonight."

The Microsoft Technology Innovation Award was designed to promote information technology best practices and to recognize the grassroots efforts of Canadian police and public safety agencies. Jointly launched by the CACP and Microsoft Canada in 2005, the award recognizes individuals and teams that incorporate new ideas demonstrating creativity and innovation in using technology to advance frontline policing. It is open to all Canadian police service employees and public sector employees of Canadian public safety sector agencies.

For more information on the Microsoft Technology Innovation Award, visit www.cacp.ca/innovation or send an e-mail to innovation@cacp.ca. For more information on the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, visit www.catsa-acsta.gc.ca. CATSA's mission is to protect the public by securing critical elements of the air transportation system as assigned by the government.

BACKGROUNDER

CATSA's Restricted Area Identity Card Project Team

The 2007 Microsoft Technology Innovation Award Recipient

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, it became critical to enhance security at Canadian airports. At the time, gaining access to restricted areas involved extensive lists and a lock and key system that was cumbersome, slow and suffering from infrequent updates. The Restricted Area Identity Card (RAIC) - a biometric identification card for airport workers - proved to be the answer. It has also garnered the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) the coveted 2007 Microsoft Technology Innovation Award.

Launched in 2006, CATSA, in collaboration with Transport Canada and airport authorities, implemented the RAIC - a smart card at the centre of an innovative biometric program that includes fingerprint and iris readers, plus a confidential network that links 29 airports to a central, secure database. The nation-wide program replaced several different systems at airports to control access into secure areas.

The smart card uses biometric technology to ensure that the person presenting the card is in fact the person to whom the card was issued. The card allows airports to confirm the identity of the airport worker and ensure that his security clearance is valid and up to date. This process takes three seconds.

An airport worker is granted a biometric smart card only after receiving security clearance from Transport Canada. Transport Canada conducts an extensive background check in cooperation with RCMP and CSIS. The RAIC is only issued once the appropriate clearances have been obtained for the applicant by the airport authority. The RAIC covers non-passengers such as caterers, ground crews, maintenance workers, pilots and flight attendants and other airport workers who have access to restricted areas.

The card has several security features: a smart chip embedded with a unique algorithm representing unique fingerprint and iris patterns; a tamper-proof hologram; and an expiry date. Covering approximately 100,000 airport workers at 29 airports, the RAIC program is the first system of its kind in the world, and it has made a significant impact on frontline policing by:

- closing a potential security gap at Canada's airports;

- making unauthorized access to restricted areas far more difficult than in the past;

- enhancing general public safety through the confirmation of the identity, security clearance status and access privileges of individuals with access to the restricted areas of Canada's airports; and

- providing a proven solution for other instances where events or venues need to be restricted to select individuals (e.g., international conferences, Olympic villages, etc.).

Congratulations to CATSA for encouraging, promoting and incorporating new ideas demonstrating creativity or innovation in using technology to advance public safety - important factors in being awarded the 2007 Microsoft Technology Innovation Award.

For more information about this document and the Microsoft Technology Innovation Award, visit www.cacp.ca/innovation or send your e-mail enquiry to innovation@cacp.ca.

Contact Information

  • Microsoft Canada
    Cynthia Keeshan
    905-363-8337
    ckeeshan@microsoft.com
    or
    Canadian Air Transport Security Authority
    Anna-Karina Tabunar
    613-998-4527