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ANSI/NIST-ITL and the Canvass Method

ANSI provides and administers the only recognized system in the United States for establishing standards - no matter what their origin - as American National Standards (ANS). Approval by ANSI informs the user that the standard may be applied with confidence because those directly affected have reached agreement on its provisions. NIST/ITL is an ANSI-accredited standards developer. This means that the procedures used by NIST/ITL in connection with the development of American National Standards satisfy ANSI's essential requirements for openness, balance, due process and consensus. ITL's standards development procedures ensure that all those (organizations, companies, government agencies, individuals, and the like) who have a direct and material interest in the creation or revision of a standard have an opportunity to participate in the review and approval process.

The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (P.L. 104-113) encourages Federal agencies, as well as state and local governments, to achieve greater reliance on voluntary standards. To achieve our goals, NIST-ITL works with industry and other agencies to develop information technology standards through voluntary consensus standards developing organizations. NIST ITL maintains a listing of our present participation in voluntary standards activities. NIST-ITL (and its predecessor organizations) has been accredited by ANSI as a standards developer since October 5, 1984. We are accredited to develop voluntary consensus standards as a sponsor using the ANSI Canvass Method for the following scope of activities: "Standards and guidelines for information exchange relating to automatic data processing and related systems". NIST-ITL has chosen to sponsor the development of an ANSI standard via the ANSI Canvass Method.

The first step is to develop a consensus body that includes those who are known to be, or have indicated that they are or would be, directly and materially affected by a standard specifying the Data Format for the Interchange of Fingerprint, Facial & Other Biometric Information. Attempts are made to ensure balance on the consensus body, and to implement procedures that guard against dominance by one or more interests. Dominance means a position or exercise of dominant authority, leadership, or influence by reason of superior leverage, strength, or representation to the exclusion of fair and equitable consideration of other viewpoints.

As part of the "Due Process" requirement for the development of an ANS, attempts must be made to ensure that the consensus body represents a balance of interests and is not dominated by any single interest. Individuals and organizations interested in participating as a voting member of the consensus body established to approve the content of the ITL standard must declare his/her specific interest category classification. This consensus body is expected to consist primarily of vendors, organizations, and associations, as well as standards developers known to be developing standards in similar fields. Each consensus body member shall have one vote only.

Proposed standards that are developed will be transmitted to all members of the consensus body with appropriate supplemental information and a letter ballot. The ballot form will provide opportunity for the consensus body member to indicate concurrence, objection, or abstinence (with reasons). In order to receive substantive consideration, objections must be accompanied by supporting written reasons and, where possible, proposals for a solution to the problems raised.

The conduct of the ballot and disposition of any views and objections are handled in accordance with ITL's ANSI-accredited procedures and the ANSI Essential Requirements: Due process requirements for American National Standards.

Accredited groups that submit standards to ANSI for approval are required to provide evidence that they were developed under an open process that gave directly and materially affected interests an opportunity to express their views. They must also demonstrate that these views have been carefully considered.

Further evidence is obtained though ANSI's public review process. Every proposed standard that is a candidate for approval is announced in Standards Action. During a specified period, usually sixty days, any one may obtain a copy of the proposal and submit comments. The standards developer is required to consider the comments and act on them. Comments and responses become part of the evidence of consensus. ANSI's Board of Standards Review (BSR) is responsible for verifying that due process requirements have been met and that consensus - substantial agreement - has been reached. Substantial agreement is more than a simple majority but is not necessarily unanimity. If BSR is satisfied, it approves the proposal as an American National Standard or takes action to reaffirm or withdraw existing standards.

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