ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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NIST Requests Comments on Proposed Biometrics Lab Accreditation Program


New York, Mar 12, 2008

Governments and companies worldwide are increasingly relying on biometrics for the secure identification of individuals. Facial, fingerprint, retinal, and voice recognitions are already being used to identify many U.S. government employees, and may one day broadly replace personal identification numbers at the ATM, passwords on the computer, and security codes on alarm systems.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a government member of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), is seeking public comments on a proposed new program to accredit testing laboratories that evaluate biometrics-based identification systems.

Requested by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the proposed Biometrics Laboratory Accreditation Program would assess the ability of candidate laboratories to evaluate biometric technologies against recognized national and international standards.

According to the February 29, 2008, Federal Register notice, NIST’s proposed accreditation program for biometrics laboratories would operate as part of the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP).

NVLAP was established to provide unbiased, third-party validation of the technical competence of testing and calibration laboratories. Created for specific fields in response to requests from Congress, other federal agencies or the private sector, recent NVLAP examples include the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s Voluntary Voting System Guidelines [see related article] and the Personal Identity Verification Program, which was established at the request of the Department of Commerce [see related article].

No matter the field or program area, NVLAP accreditation shows that a laboratory has demonstrated that it meets the program’s challenging management and technical requirements.

Interested stakeholders are invited to submit comments on the proposed biometrics NVLAP by March 31, 2008. Submittals may be emailed to nvlap@nist.gov or sent in hard copy to the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program, 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 2140, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-2140.

For more information, contact Mr. Brad Moore, NIST/NVLAP program manager (301.975.5740; brad.moore@nist.gov).

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