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NIST introduces new biometric conformance software


A new biometric conformance software suite released by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) tests for compliance with the organization’s latest enhanced biometric standard.

The ANSI/NIST-ITL standard “Data Format for the Interchange of Fingerprint, Facial & Other Biometric Information” has been updated and is called ANSI/NIST-ITL 1-2011, NIST Special Publication 500-290 Data Format for the Interchange of Fingerprint, Facial & Other Biometric Information.

This version supersedes all previous versions and amendments to the standard. The process of updating the standard began in 2010. There were two workshops held at NIST, with summaries and presentation archives available in the ANSI/NIST-ITL Links on this page. The ballot closed on November 9, 2011 and passed unanimously.

Principal features of this version are that it is content-based, with specific encodings (such as Traditional format and NIEM-conformant XML format) handled as associated annexes to the standard. New modalities (DNA and plantars) were added as well as updates to existing record types. The extended feature set was added to Type-9 records; Type-10 was extended to include all body part images and to include anthropomorphic image markups; and compact iris image storage formats were introduced. There were substantial metadata upgrades as well, including geo-location, data handling logs, original source and associated reference data. Information assurance capabilities were added as a separate record type.

The new standard will be used in NIST’s new Biometric Conformance Test Software for Data Interchange Formats (BioCTS2012). BioCTS 2012 tests implementations for conformance to various biometric data interchange format standards.

NIST researchers developed the new conformance testing software to ensure that developers can create products that comply with the new standard. Typical such products are used by law enforcement, military and homeland security agencies. The software is available for free download.

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