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NIST Requests Comments on Proposed Biometrics Lab Program

For Immediate Release: March 5, 2008

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Contact: Evelyn Brown
301-975-5661

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is seeking public comments on a proposed new program to accredit testing laboratories that evaluate biometrics-based identification systems. The proposed Biometrics Laboratory Accreditation Program, requested by the Department of Homeland Security, would assess the ability of candidate laboratories to evaluate biometric technologies such as facial, fingerprint, retinal and voice recognitions against recognized national and international standards.

Governments and companies are increasingly relying on biometrics to recognize individuals. They will soon be used to identify all U.S. government and contract employees, and may replace personal identification numbers at banks and passwords for computing to minimize identity theft.

NIST published a notice* in the Feb. 29 Federal Register requesting comments on establishing an accreditation program for laboratories that perform biometric testing using recognized national and international standards under the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP).

NVLAP accreditation programs are established to provide unbiased, third-party validation of the technical competence of testing and calibration laboratories. The programs are created for specific fields in response to requests from Congress, other federal agencies or the private sector. NVLAP accreditation shows that a laboratory has demonstrated that it meets the program’s challenging management and technical requirements.

More information about NVLAP is available at www.nist.gov/nvlap. If you have questions or comments about the proposed biometrics NVLAP, contact Brad Moore, NIST/NVLAP program manager at (301) 975-5740 or at brad.moore@nist.gov.

* Docket No.: 080122071-8073-01. “Notice and Request for Comments on Proposed Establishment of a Laboratory Accreditation Program for Laboratories Performing Interoperability, Performance, and Conformance Biometrics Testing Under the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program.” Federal Register V. 73, Num. 41, Feb. 29, 2008, p. 11093.