NIST completes biometric specs

Biometric Specification for Personal Identity Verification

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has published formatting specifications for the biometric credentials that federal agencies must include on personal identity verification (PIV) cards issued to federal employees and contractors after Oct. 27.

The new document, Special Publication 800-76, offers technical information for implementing Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 201, a now-mandatory standard for smart cards that will replace most current federal employee badges.

SP 800-76 describes the procedures and formats for storing fingerprints and facial images required for compliance with the FIPS 201 standard. The FBI has a different set of technical specifications for the fingerprints it uses in conducting background checks. SP 800-76 contains references to those specifications.

The new document does not limit the use of biometric credentials to those required for governmentwide PIV interoperability. Agencies could include additional biometric credentials if they wish.

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