Federal Biometric ID Cards Get Iris Scan Option

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
By Paul Martin

By Elizabeth Montalbano
InformationWeek
Biometric ID cards being developed for federal employees and contractors may include iris scanning in addition to fingerprinting, according to updated specifications released by the federal organization for IT standards.
A new draft of Special Publication 800-76-2 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) includes a clause that would require the use of iris scanning as biometric identification if a person doesn’t have fingerprints or if fingerprinting is problematic, according to the document.

The document includes specifications for iris images stored both on and off the personal identity verification (PIV) cards people will use to confirm their identity; for iris capture devices; for the semantic properties of an iris image; for an iris image capture interface; and for an iris recognition interface.

The new draft also includes specifications for an option agencies have to add an algorithm that would provide on-card comparison of fingerprints rather than requiring a personal identification number (PIN) when checking someone’s credentials.

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