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International Biometric Standards - Addressing the Customer Needs for Personal Authentication



Fernando L. Podio


Authentication is the provision of assurance of the claimed identity of an entity. Biometrics is defined as the automated recognition of individuals based on their behavioral and biological characteristics. Behavioral characteristics are traits that are learned or acquired, such as dynamic signature verification and keystroke dynamics. Biological characteristics include hand and facial features, fingerprints, and iris patterns. In addition to supporting national security and preventing ID fraud, they are starting to play a crucial role in enterprise-wide network security infrastructures, the protection of buildings from unauthorized individuals, employee IDs, secure electronic banking and financial transactions, retail sales, law enforcement and health and social services. Mobile devices, colleges, and amusement parks are already benefiting from these technologies. In the last few years, national security priorities have emphasized the need for biometrics in employee identification documents, passports and other high secure applications. These activities are inherently global in scope. These needs for biometric technologies have encouraged international biometric standardization. ISO/IEC JTC 1 established Subcommittee 37 - Biometrics in June 2002 in response to these users' immediate needs, and to ensure a high priority, focused, and comprehensive approach worldwide for the rapid development and approval of biometric standards. Twenty seven member countries are involved in this endeavor. The article describes the current activities of this Subcommittee, its program of work, and the interrelationship with other standards bodies and outside organizations. It emphasizes also early adoption of international biometric standards developed under SC 37 by large organizations such as the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Labor Organization of the UN.
ISO Focus


authentication, biometric, biometrics, data interchange, identification, ISO, JTC1, profiles, standards


Podio, F. (2004), International Biometric Standards - Addressing the Customer Needs for Personal Authentication, ISO Focus (Accessed May 21, 2024)


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Created November 1, 2004, Updated February 17, 2017