Navigate to content

INCITS' Biometrics Group Approves Five Standards Proposals Supporting Homeland Security Efforts

Contact: Maryann Karinch
Karinch Communications

INCITS' Biometrics Group Approves Five Standards Proposals Supporting Homeland Security Efforts
Areas of Impact: Transportation Workers; Border Crossing; Public and Private Sector Face and Finger Recognition

Washington, D.C. June 27, 2002 - The InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) today announced that INCITS Technical Committee M1-Biometrics has approved project proposals for the development of five important biometric national standards. The approved projects are:

  • 2 Biometric Application Profiles: (1) Application Profile-Interoperability and Data Interchange-Biometrics Based Verification and Identification of Transportation Workers, and (2) Application Profile for Interoperability, Data Interchange and Data Integrity of Biometric Based Personal Identification for Border Crossing
  • 3 Biometric Data Format Projects: (1) Finger Minutiae Format for Data Interchange, (2) Face Recognition Format for Data Interchange, and (3) Finger Pattern-Based Interchange Format.

These new standards support interoperability and data interchange, which cannot be achieved with incompatible or proprietary solutions. The Application Profiles will identify the required base standards for the target application. Core standards for these Application Profiles will include the application programming interface, the common data structure and the biometric data formats. The finger and face recognition standards will also facilitate interoperability and data interchange for multiple verification and identification applications such as point-of-sale, large-scale enterprise network authentication, large ID systems and healthcare and the placement of face or fingerprint information on smart cards.

"Information plays an important role in homeland security. We are working with US government agencies and biometrics experts to address critical security needs identified by our government and its allies," said Rhett Dawson, president of the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), the industry trade association that sponsors INCITS. "The new US committee, M1, has approved these project proposals because they directly support our national security program. M1 is also part of an international collaboration, a new international standards committee, SC 37-Biometrics, which will investigate the need for similar standards abroad."

"Open-systems biometric standards are urgently needed in order to accelerate the deployment of reliable security solutions for Homeland Defense, as well as to help prevent identity theft. These standards will also support other government and commercial applications based on biometric personal authentication," said Fernando Podio, chair of INCITS Technical Committee M1. Podio is a member of the Convergent Information Systems Division of the Information Technology Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

M1 has formed two Ad Hoc Groups to develop the new standards immediately. Both groups are meeting for the first time on July 11 and 12 at ITI headquarters, 1250 Eye St. NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC. Additional information on M1 and the meetings can be found at (

"We are on the right path to meet the goals set for Technical Committee M1," Podio said. "The BioAPI specification, for example, was recently approved as ANSI/INCITS 358-2002 through the INCITS Fast Track process. We also hope to approve the Common Biometric Exchange File Format (CBEFF) specification via a similar approach. The ultimate goal is the approval of biometric international open-system standards."

TThe InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) is the venue of choice for information technology developers, producers and users for the creation and maintenance of formal IT standards. INCITS is accredited by, and operates under rules approved by, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). These rules are designed to ensure that voluntary standards are developed by the consensus of directly and materially affected interests. Contact: INCITS Secretariat, Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC), 1250 Eye St. NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20005 (