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International biometric standards ¿ Worldwide impact on personal authentication applications



Fernando L. Podio


Biometric technologies are able to establish or verify personal identity against previously enrolled individuals. The importance of these technologies has dramatically increased. Homeland defense is now the highest of priorities for many countries. These countries are now seriously considering or have already approved new legislation that calls for the investigation and use of biometric technologies as soon as possible for homeland defense applications. The prevention of ID theft will also become a significant market for biometrics in the future. The deployment of standards-based biometric technologies is anticipated to achieve significantly higher levels of security than have been possible to date with other technologies. Deploying these systems requires a comprehensive set of international technically sound standards that meet the customer¿s needs. ISO/IEC JTC1/SC 37 has recently completed the ¿first generation¿ of international biometric data interchange formats, interface standards and performance testing and reporting standards. Overall eighteen standards have been published to date. A number of these standards are already being required by customers such as the International Civil Aviation Organization for Machine Readable Travel Documents, the International Labour Office of the United Nations for a Seafarers Identification Credential program and the European Union for the use of biometric in EU passports. Some countries, members of JTC1/SC 37 such as Spain and the United States of America, refer to some of these standards in several personal authentication programs. Responding to technology innovations and new customer¿s needs, JTC 1/SC 37 has begun the development of the ¿second generation¿ of standards. Currently, the program of work includes fifty-three subprojects (standards and technical reports) that are being simultaneously developed.
ISO Focus


Authentication, Biometric, Standards, Biometrics, Biometrics, Biometrics, Biometrics, Biometrics, Customer Needs, Data Interchange, JTC1: SC 37, Biometrics, Performance Measurements, Technical Interfaces


Podio, F. (2007), International biometric standards ¿ Worldwide impact on personal authentication applications, ISO Focus, [online], (Accessed June 23, 2024)


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Created September 2, 2007, Updated January 27, 2020