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Discussing the Future of Biometrics and Identity Management in West Virginia

June 26, 2012

More than ninety people attended TechConnectWV’s forum on June 20, “Next Steps in Identity Technologies: Biometrics and Beyond” at the Robert H. Mollohan Research Center in Fairmont.  TechConnectWV sponsored the event in conjunction with CSC and IMTAS to bring together stakeholders in the biometrics and identity management sectors to discuss opportunities for collaboration that could lead to new jobs and economic growth.

Mr. David Cuthbertson, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division and Col. Douglas Flohr, Director for Operations of the Biometrics Identity Management Agency, shared insights and information on where the Federal government is headed in terms of identity management and biometrics.  Three outstanding professors – Dr. Bojan Cukic of West Virginia University, Dr. Terry Fenger of Marshall University, and Dr. Marios Savvides of Carnegie Mellon discussed their groundbreaking work in biometrics, forensics, and identity management, as well.

Given TechConnectWV’s keen interest in R&D, it was good to hear about the CJIS commitment of $20 million in funding for the FBI’s Biometrics Center of Excellence, for research and development in FY2013.  Through R&D and innovation, new economic opportunities are created, leading to new high-paying jobs and building on the base of intellectual capital already in place in West Virginia. Given the understandable pressure on Federal government budgets, the funding reflects the FBI’s commitment to sustain Senator Byrd’s vision of the FBI as a center of synergistic, inter-agency cooperation designed to serve law enforcement, homeland security and national defense.  It also demonstrates the FBI’s recognition of the intent of Congress in the construction of the Biometrics Technology Center and proves the FBI’s continually growing leadership role in biometrics and identification services

U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller sent greetings and words of support and encouragement, saying, “I applaud TechConnect, and its partners, the Computer Sciences Corporation and IMTAS, for their forward thinking leadership in spurring timely discussions on how we best seize the incredible opportunities that are right here in our own back yard.”

In his concluding remarks, John S. Hooks, Jr., Director of CSC Identity Labs in Fairmont, said West Virginia is recognized as the center point for biometrics and identity management services and noted that the existing public-private-academic partnership can help spur more growth, above and beyond the 4,000 jobs in north central West Virginia.