ISO and IEC introduce new international standards for interoperability in biometrics

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ISO (International Organization for Standardization) has published new international standards to ensure security, compatibility and interoperability of biometric data interchange formats and technology, the organization announced.

“We intend to have internationally agreed standards for all biometric modalities, taking into account the diverse range of applications, the often-sensitive nature of the data and the various regulatory and jurisdictional requirements,” said in a statement Patrick Grother, Chair of the ISO/IEC technical committee responsible for the ISO/IEC 39794 series.

Biometrics for identity verification are actively deployed in multiple regions and fields such as border control, healthcare, voter identification and restricted access areas. The increasing number of applications has altered the coding information behind biometric data interchange formats. As a result, the expert committee on biometrics of ISO and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has released a set standards to prevent interoperability issues and ensure data interchange.

The first standards include ISO/IEC 39794-1, Information technology – Extensible biometric data interchange formats – Part 1: Framework, ISO/IEC 39794-4, Information technology – Extensible biometric data interchange formats – Part 4: Finger image data, ISO/IEC 39794-5, Information technology – Extensible biometric data interchange formats – Part 5: Face image data.

The newly released guidelines will replace previously released standards for data interchange formats included in the ISO/IEC 19794 series. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is likely to implement the new standards for the 9303 on machine-readable travel documents.

More standards will be added to the new series, to include iris, vascular, full body and gait image data. The ISO/IEC 39794 standards resulted from a collaboration between ISO/IEC technical committee JTC 1, Information technology, subcommittee SC 37, Biometrics, the secretariat of which is held by ANSI, ISO’s member for the U.S.A.