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NASA Security Badge Poses Safety Risk

Aug 27, 2008 (03:08 PM EDT)

Read the Original Article at http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=210201122



NASA Security Badge (photo by Identity Stronghold)

NASA Security Badge
(photo by Identity Stronghold)
(click for larger image)

NASA's government-mandated identity badges may improve security, but they are also a threat to safety.

On August 15th, a NASA Safety Notice issued at Kennedy Space Center warned that NASA's new Identity Stronghold badge holder has the "potential to introduce dangerous Foreign Object Damage (FOD) to flight hardware areas and can cause personnel injury if the metal clips are installed improperly."

The badge holder's metal clasps, if installed backwards, "will become a projectile when the badge is opened creating a potential eye injury hazard," the Safety Notice says. "When removing your badge, do not point end with metal clips towards your face or another person."

As reported by Steven Aftergood, who maintains the Secrecy News site for the Federation of American Scientists, the badge holders were issued to comply with President Bush's Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12.

That directive establishes "a mandatory, Government-wide standard for secure and reliable forms of identification issued by the Federal Government to its employees and contractors."

Florida-based Identity Stronghold distributes the Secure Badgeholder through the U.S. General Services Administration. It is part of the EDS team that was recently awarded the $66 Million HSPD 12 ID Management Services contract.

The Secure Badgeholder has an electromagnetically opaque sleeve to prevent the card from being read at a distance and to give the user some control over when and where the card is exposed for reading.

On its Web site, Identity Stronghold notes that its Secure Badgeholder "has been awarded the 2008 GOOD DESIGN award for product design."