Biometrics registry proposed

Standards registry would enable interagency sharing of biometrics

An interagency technology council has released a draft of a registry of biometric standards that could improve sharing of data between agencies.

The Registry of USG Recommended Biometric Standards was developed by the Subcommittee on Biometrics and Identity Management of the White House National Science and Technology Council. It has been released through the National Institute of Standards and Technology for public comment; comments should be e-mailed to by March 10. Comments will be reviewed by the NSTC Technology Committee.

The registry supplements an earlier document, the NSTC Policy for Enabling the Development, Adoption and Use of Biometric Standards. The policy is an attempt to establish agreement on interagency standards so that biometric systems will be interoperable. The registry is a list of those standards. The subcommittee did not develop new standards, but developed the list through a consensus of 15 agencies participating in the process. They evaluated what the subcommittee called 'numerous, often contradictory, standards currently available.' The goal is that data gathered and saved by one agency will be accessible by other agencies through the use of common formats and processes.

The registry includes recommended standards for data collection, storage and exchange; transmission profiles; requirements for identifying government employees and contractors; plug-and-play equipment standards; conformance and performance testing methodology standards. and references.

The subcommittee is co-chaired by Duane Blackburn of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Brad Wing of US-Visit and Jim Dray of NIST.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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