NIST releases technical specs for new fed ID

NIST releases technical specs for new fed ID

Agencies that already have begun issuing smart ID cards to employees and contractors under existing government smart card interoperability standards can continue their programs, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has said.

NIST's Special Publication 800-73 lays out technical interface specifications for a governmentwide personal identity verification card.

Mandated last year in Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12, the PIV card's general requirements were laid out in Federal Information Processing Standard 201, issued in February. The standard calls for a smart card with a programmable chip and both contact and contactless (wireless) interfaces supporting four levels of security. It will serve for both physical and IT system access.

SP 800-73 contains the interface specifications; Special Publication 800-76 will specify the biometric elements--fingerprints--for the card.

One major hurdle in developing the interface standards was blending them with the 2003 Government Smart Card Interoperability Specification under which a number of agencies have been setting up their programs, NIST officials said.

To ease the move to the PIV card, GSCIS will serve as a transition standard for such agencies. They now have until June 25 to submit a PIV compliance program to the Office of Management and Budget. The initial compliance deadline is Oct. 25.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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