Industry leader pushes for 'more robust' security

The head of the International Biometric Industry Association this week urged federal leaders to consider creating a "more robust" plan for securing government computer systems.

The plea from the association came in the form of a letter from IBIA executive director Richard Norton to Richard Clarke, national coordinator for security, infrastructure protection and counterterrorism. The letter — intended as a response to the National Plan for Information Systems Protection that the Clinton Administration unveiled on Jan. 7 — takes aim at a cyberdefense strategy that relies heavily on public-key infrastructure (PKI), a system that uses mechanisms such as digital certificates to authenticate electronic transactions.

IBIA leaders propose adding to the plan a greater focus on biometrics — such as electronic verification of a computer user's fingerprints — to ensure the security of computer systems.

"IBIA recognizes the benefits of a PKI that uses digital certificates to authenticate the origin of electronic transactions and communications," Norton wrote in his letter to Clarke. "However, a PKI alone cannot provide positive identification of the individual who initiates a transaction or data access request.... Specifically, IBIA encourages the Administration to adopt a more robust plan that incorporates biometric authentication products as part of a multilayered security infrastructure that accurately identifies people who access or send information."

Norton argues that adding biometrics to a computer security plan would not replace other means of securing a system. Rather, he says biometrics would operate in conjunction with other computer security methods such as PKI and smart cards.


  • Workforce
    White House rainbow light shutterstock ID : 1130423963 By zhephotography

    White House rolls out DEIA strategy

    On Tuesday, the Biden administration issued agencies a roadmap to guide their efforts to develop strategic plans for diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA), as required under a as required under a June executive order.

  • Defense
    software (whiteMocca/

    Why DOD is so bad at buying software

    The Defense Department wants to acquire emerging technology faster and more efficiently. But will its latest attempts to streamline its processes be enough?

Stay Connected