Biometric standards are one of the most important but least interesting topics in the biometrics field. Most practitioners see them as a necessary evil; however, they play a critical role in the adoption and successful implementation of biometrics in applications where interoperability and interchangeability are needed.

Prior to the events of 9/11, few biometric standards existed. The law enforcement community had developed the ANSI/NBS-ICST 1-1986 standard for the exchange of fingerprint data and its successors are used worldwide for the exchange of forensic biometric data today. By that time, a few “commercial” biometric standards had also emerged, most notably BioAPI. However, it was not uncommon to hear the refrain, “The trouble with biometrics is that there are no standards” as one of the reasons for the lack of large scale adoption of the technology. Those who understood the potential of biometrics in identity management and authentication were frustrated that sales had not lived up to that potential (or the hype)……..

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