Smart-card policy approved

Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 201

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Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez approved a new standard enabling federal departments and agencies to develop plans to issue secure smart-card based credentials for their employees and contractors.

"Protecting federal facilities, systems and the employees who have access to them is of vital importance to this Administration," Gutierrez said in a statement released today. "This new standard will enable federal agencies to issue more secure and reliable forms of identification to better protect federal assets against threats such as terrorist attacks. It also will help safeguard against other risks such as identity theft."

Federal officials have been working on a common credential policy since 1993 as a way to authenticate identities of employees and contractors who have access to federal facilities and information systems. President Bush endorsed the work by issuing a Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 12 last August, which outlined the need for secure identification and set tight deadlines for accelerating the pace of the work.

Officials from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and other agencies drafted the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 201

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