Latest ID technology unveiled at Washington State border

BLAINE - In anticipation of heavy border traffic for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C., border officials unveiled new technology Tuesday, Nov. 18, that should speed people's return to the U.S. from Canada.

The technology, known as radio frequency identification, allows travelers with special ID cards embedded with radio chips to hold them up to a reader in one of the crossings' lanes.

This transmits their profiles, including photos, and other basic information, to an officer's computer screen. The information includes cross-checks with various criminal databases.

While allowing for quicker crossings, the technology doesn't sacrifice security, said Michele James, the director of field operations for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Seattle office.

Travelers will still have a face-to-face inspection with officers before crossing. The new technology allows these officers to process travelers' information faster, James said.

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