State Department Wants to Build A Biometric System for Mexico


The department is currently in the market research stage.

While Congress scrutinizes the White House’s plan for a border wall to keep out undocumented immigrants, another part of the federal government wants to build technology for the Mexican government.

The State Department is gathering information on a biometric system, to be used for the government of Mexico, that could hook up to the United States’ own databases storing some citizens’ personally identifiable information, including fingerprints and iris scans.

The department’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs is looking for a system, made mostly of commercial off-the-shelf software, to make a “fully compliant and scalable central biometrics system.”

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Biometric data to be stored in that system might also include facial images, palm prints and voice recordings.

The system may need to be interoperable with Mexico’s existing biometric databases, as well as some in the U.S. including those operated by the FBI, the Homeland Security Department and the Pentagon.

“The Mexican biometric system applications are already deployed yet do not communicate with each other,” the RFI said.

Details about the purpose of the solicitation—and its eventual use—are sparse, but the document notes its capabilities might involve allowing officers to search databases, verify that an individual has been encountered before, and retrieve an individual's identity based on a biometric identifier.

It might also notify certain law enforcement groups when changes are made to the records of a person enrolled in the system.

Responses to the solicitation are due April 13.

Nextgov has requested comment from the State Department.