Wednesday, December 26, 2007

TWIC for Christmas

Wow, that was fast! I had my TWIC enrollment appointment on 12/12/07, and I got an email that my TWIC was ready for pick-up on 12/21/07. Nine days! So, I was down there today, and picked up my TWIC, which didn't take very long - about 20 minutes. You once again have to bring some ID, and then they activate the card, which programs all your data on to a little chip that is embedded in the card itself. During the activation, you choose a seven to nine digit number as your PIN, and that also gets programmed onto the card. And they give you a very fancy hard plastic case so your TWIC doesn't get damaged when you are wearing it. The case and neck lanyard alone must be worth about $10.

So, the card can be used for secure entry in a variety of ways: you might swipe the card like a credit card, and then have to enter your PIN into a keypad. OR, you might just have to show the card to a live security guard, OR, some locations might have a machine that reads the chip on the card, in which case your finger print would scanned and matched to the biometric data on the card, OR, some other combination and permutations of all the above.

I wonder if I'll ever actually use this thing, other than as an ID when I'm passing through airport security...

I got my renewed USCG license in the mail on 12/21/07; also nine days. So, kudos to the Dept of Homeland Security for speedy service.