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NIST/ITL Conformance Test Suite for Patron Format A Data Structures Specified in ANSI INCITS 398-2008, Common Biometric Exchange Formats Framework (CBEFF)

Beta Implementation V1.1
August 2008

The success of many biometric applications is particularly dependent on the interoperability of biometric systems. A number of biometric standards in support of these applications have been developed and published both by national and international standards development organizations. The existence of these base standards alone (e.g., biometric data interchange formats, biometric technical interfaces) is not enough to demonstrate that products meet the technical requirements specified in the standards. Conformance testing captures the technical description of a standard and measures whether an implementation faithfully implements the standard. Standards-based conformance testing tools help both developers and users by validating conformance claims, leading to greatly increased levels of confidence in products. Conformance testing can also help ensure interoperability between standards-based products and systems.

NIST/ITL Computer Security Division (CSD) supports the development of national and international biometric standards and has promoted conformity assessment through active technical participation in the development of related standards, sponsorship of specific biometric standard projects (e.g., conformance testing methodologies for biometric technical interfaces), and the development of associated conformance testing architectures and testing suites designed to test for conformance to biometric technical interfaces and data interchange format standards.

The Conformance Test Suite (CTS) for Patron Format A data structures specified in ANSI INCITS 398-2008 was developed to help users determine whether binary file implementations of Biometric Information Records (BIRs) based on this Patron Format conform or not to the standard. Additional goals are to support product developers interested in conforming to biometric standards by using the same testing tools available to their customers and the possible establishment of biometric conformity assessment programs.

NIST/ITL CSD sponsored in INCITS M1 development of a conformance testing methodology standard for CBEFF data structures specified in ANSI INCITS 398-2008 and has submitted to INCITS M1 the test assertions and related test cases developed for the Patron Format A Conformance Test Suite as well as test assertions and test cases for other Patron Formats specified in the ANSI INCITS 398-2008 standard. INCITS M1 - "Biometrics" is a Technical Committee of the International Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS).CBEFF International standards have been developed by a Subcommittee of the Joint Technical Committee 1 of ISO and IEC: "SC 37 - Biometrics" . They have been published as ISO/IEC standards.

Background on CBEFF national and international standards and information on how to obtain these standards (for a fee) are provided here.

The Patron Format A CTS may be freely reproduced and used. NIST is requesting that you explicitly acknowledge the National Institute of Standards and Technology as the source of the software and associated documentation.

Since the conformance testing methodology standard is still under development, it is possible that changes to the standard may lead to changes in future versions of the CTS software. An advanced conformance testing architecture and Conformance Testing Modules for other selected CBEFF Biometric Information Records as well as for implementations of biometric data interchange format standards is under development.

Please send comments and suggestions on the PFA CTS to