NIST offers ID card, reader guidelines

"SP 800-96: PIV Card / Reader Interoperability Guidelines"

The National Institute of Standards and Technology yesterday published a draft of guidelines for interoperability between personal identity verification cards and readers. NIST’s Information Technology Laboratory wrote the draft.

The publication covers highly specific technical standards for contact and contactless interfaces and readers for logical and physical access. Guidelines include buffer sizes and programming voltages as well as protections and standard operating conditions regarding temperatures and humidity.

The document was co-authored by a General Services Administration official, who used input from companies to develop portions draft.

“Industry likes the idea that there’s a formal review and comment period,” said Randy Vanderhoof, Executive Director of the Smart Card Alliance in a phone interview. Vanderhoof said that although companies helped with the formation of the document, it is too early to tell what areas will receive the bulk of the comments.

The comment period for the draft ends June 13 at 5 p.m. EST. Comments should be submitted to with the subject header “Comments on SP800-96” and with an attached comment template form which can be downloaded at


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