The Federal Register today contains a notice from the Coast Guard and TSA regarding the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program, announcing a decision to modify the earlier Notice of Proposed Rule Making, following pressure from members of Congress about the rules:
TSA and Coast Guard have concluded that facility and vessel owners and operators will not be required to purchase or install card readers during the first phase of the TWIC implementation. Additionally, a requirement to purchase and install card readers will not be implemented until the public is afforded further opportunity to comment on that aspect of the TWIC program. The details of this approach will be explained in the next rulemaking.
Washington Technology reported last week that biometric industry representatives are upset about this change, which presumably cuts into their revenue estimates for TWIC. If there are legitimate concerns about which technologies to use (an issue that is hamstringing the similar PASS program) then it makes sense for a slight delay to work these out. But this change should not permanent, because it undermines the core rationale for the TWIC program of being able to reliably validate the IDs of workers at a port.