NIST: Put faces and fingerprints on visas for ID

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is recommending a dual biometric system of fingerprint and facial recognition, possibly stored on smart cards, to identify visa holders at the nation's borders.

'With two fingerprints and a face, you'd have quite a secure system,' said Charles Wilson, manager of the Imaging Group in NIST's Information Technology Laboratory.

NIST delivered its recommendations in a report to Congress after conducting a study last year as mandated by the USA Patriot Act of 2001 and the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002.

The report recommended placing two fingerprints on each card'noting that thumbs produce the highest accuracy rates, followed by the index and middle fingers'combined with facial scanning.
NIST said each image, whether of a fingerprint or face, would take up 10K or less of storage, which is within the capacity of many smart cards.

The system should follow existing standards and specifications, the report said, such as the Digital Signature Standard for public-key infrastructure encryption.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is editor of Defense Systems. Follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCaney.

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