Thread Subject: Re: biometrics continued
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From: Schomburg, Paul
Date: Mon, Jul 30 2007 10:10 AM
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Folks: I would like to give some input regarding the biometrics
discussion from the week before last.
FIPS 201 requires every agency to use the interoperable fingerprint
biometric. This is the only interoperable biometric required by FIPS
201. However, each agency also has the discretion to use any additional
biometric it prefers for agency-specific needs. Under the FIPS 201-1
standard for the PIV card for federal employees and contractors, it is
also mandatory to store the facial image data object on the PIV smart
card. However, this facial image is intended only to be used in
generating a printed image and to augment authentication of the card
holder. Although NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-76-1 requires the
data format of the image to conform to the INCITS 385-2004 biometric
data interchange format standard, there is no requirement that the
facial image be used for automated biometric matching. Section 2.1 of
SP800-76-1 allows agencies to select other biometrics to meet specific
operational needs, but does not require the second biometric to be
interoperable across agencies.
Since biometric technologies are just starting to be deployed in the
Federal government, I would be careful in giving a preference or
requirement to support a specific technology such as "facial
recognition" as a second biometric identifier. For example, Iris
recognition is also a strong biometric identifier that can be used even
with an individual with no sight (but of course with an eye), and can be
accomplished without the requirement to sit perfectly still while
scanned. Iris recognition involves no lasers, bright lights, or any
invasive technology at all, making it as safe to use as a video camera.
For a more detailed overview of iris recognition see:
an overview of other biometric technologies see:
I would suggest that if TEITAC requires a second biometric identifier it
should leave the choice up to each agency (or a future government-wide
process) to determine what is both most secure and accessible to people
with disabilities. Panasonic works with the International Biometrics
Industry Association (www.ibia.org) and would be happy to facilitate
further discussion on this topic with IBIA.
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Subject: Re: [teitac-general] biometrics continued
This subject has also been raised with the Federal Identity Credential
Committee (FICC), who are working with GSA and NIST on ID standards for
Federal employees. I have been speaking with Judy Spencer, who works in
another division in my office and we have met with the Access Board
regarding the standard that agencies need to follow in selecting,
and using Federal Identity cards.
I forwarded some of our emails and ask that she share the discussion
regarding the two forms of biometric identification (fingerprint and
scan) with the members of the FICC and here is Judy's reply - "I will
this. Currently, FIPS 201 does have an alternative - the facial image.
Since we all have faces (if you can show me someone without a face, I'd
very interested) and facial recognition software is really quite good
deals well with changes in facial hair and glasses) and getting better,
think this is the best and least invasive alternative. Retinal scans
require you to put your eye up to a sensor and hold relatively still,
someone with a palsy would have as much trouble, if not more, with this
alternative as with presenting a readable fingerprint."
I will be happy to forward responses to her.