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U.S. Leads JTC 1 Effort to Address Jurisdictional and Societal Issues of Biometric Technology


New York, Feb 11, 2009

Biometric technology is used in many applications worldwide, allowing both public and private-sector entities to authenticate an individual’s identity, secure national borders, and restrict access to certain physical and online settings.

A new Technical Report released by Joint Technical Committee (JTC) 1 of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) provides guidance and clarification on jurisdictional and societal issues related to the use of biometrics for the identification of people.

ISO/IEC TR 24714-1:2008, Information technology – Biometrics – Jurisdictional and societal considerations for commercial applications – Part 1: General guidance, provides guidance on a number of relevant issues for biometric technology, including:

  • privacy and the protection of personal information;

  • health and safety issues;

  • conditions of the physical environment that affect operation, accessibility, and usability;

  • societal, cultural, and ethical aspects of biometrics; and

  • acceptance of the use of biometric characteristics.

The guidelines in the report offer several benefits, including enhanced acceptance and improved public perception of biometric systems, as well as long-term cost reduction and adoption of commonly approved good privacy practices.

ISO/IEC TR 24714-1:2008 was developed by ISO/IEC JTC 1, Information technology, subcommittee SC 37, Biometrics. The U.S. leads both JTC 1 and SC 37, with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) holding the secretariat for both, and Mr. Fernando Podio of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) acting as chairperson for SC 37.

The InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) serves as the Administrator of the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to SC 37, carrying U.S. positions forward to the subcommittee. INCITS is an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.

“For decades, biometric technologies were primarily used in law enforcement applications,” said Mr. Podio. “Currently, they are increasingly being required in multiple applications worldwide. These technologies provide the opportunity for deployment of significantly better security for physical and logical access control. ISO/IEC TR 24714-1 will help biometric-based system users, writers of system specifications and decision makers, in the context of cross-jurisdictional and societal considerations for commercial applications of biometrics."

For more information on ISO/IEC TR 24714-1:2008, see the ISO press release.

ANSI Nanotechnology Standards Panel