ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Department of Commerce Issues Standard for ID Cards

Workshop to Develop National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program

New York, Feb 27, 2006

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently issued the final specifications for Personal Identity Verification (PIV) cards, which will be required of all federal employees and contractors by October 27, 2006. Encrypted with biometric data, these “smart” cards will be used to secure access to all federal buildings and information systems nationwide, and to prevent identity theft, fraud, and counterfeiting.

The Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 201, Personal Identity Verification (PIV) of Federal Employees and Contractors, was developed by NIST’s Computer Security Division in partnership with other federal agencies in direct response to a presidential directive issued in 2004. As outlined in the directive, the common identification standard is designed to enhance government security and efficiency, reduce identity fraud, and protect personal privacy. PIV pilot programs are currently in progress at a number of federal agencies including NASA and the Department of Defense, which has issued 4 million smart identification cards to active military employees.

PIV cards use biometric applications such as signature, fingerprint, eye, and face recognition systems to verify identity based on physiological traits. FIPS 201 specifies guidelines addressing the interface and data elements of biometric information, the technical acquisition and formatting of biometric data, and the cryptographic algorithms and key sizes to be used in the PIV system.

To validate PIV applications and their interoperability, NIST has established the NIST Personal Identity Verification Program (NPIVP). In furtherance of this program, NPIVP is convening a workshop, in conjunction with the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP), to establish an accreditation program for laboratories that test PIV components and sub-systems. The workshop will facilitate the exchange of information among laboratories interested in seeking accreditation for the testing of PIV components, vendors interested in having their products certified by the NPIVP, federal agencies seeking NPIVP-certified products, and NVLAP. The FIPS 201 standard and related special publications will serve as the basis upon which the accreditation program will be developed.

The workshop will be held March 3, 2006, at NIST headquarters in Gaithersburg, MD. Registration is free of charge. For more information about NPIVP and to register for the workshop, click here.

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