DHS puts its money on standards

International Committee for Information Technology Standards

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Homeland Security Department officials have decided to join the International Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) to try to influence standards being developed for technology that supports homeland security.

Larry Orluskie, a DHS spokesman, said the Science and Technology Directorate will pay $49,585 in membership dues to join INCITS. The group is sponsored by the Information Technology Industry Council, a high-tech trade association.

DHS officials recently adopted a biometric facial recognition standard developed by INCITS for use in passports and other travel documents.

INCITS is accredited by and operates under rules approved by the American National Standards Institute. According to its Web site, INCITS focuses on market-driven, consensus standards for multimedia, communication among computing devices and information systems, small computer system interfaces, geographic information systems, storage media, databases, security and programming languages.

In a Dec. 15 notice on the FedBizOpps Web site, DHS officials stated that "without access to the INCITS executive board, the government will lose time and necessary influence into the development and adoption of critical homeland security/cybersecurity and biometric standards, thereby severely impacting the agency's mission."

The Washington, D.C.-based INCITS has 1,700 member organizations in 13 countries.

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