How to pair smart cards and biometrics

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Biometric systems, which measure physical or behavioral characteristics to verify a person's identity, will likely play a role in the smart card programs of the Defense Department, the Homeland Security Department and the Transportation Security Administration. However, each agency has different requirements that will determine its use of the technology.

For example, DOD officials are now discussing how to formulate a policy to dictate when various security factors — such as a personal identification number, an individual smart card and a smart card paired with a biometric — would be used, said Mary Dixon, program manager for DOD's access card office.

Agencies may want to adopt a method several vendors are working on for matching fingerprints directly through the smart card rather than the network, said Neville Pattinson, Schlumberger Ltd.'s director of business development and technology.

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