The exchange of biometric data among government entities: The ANSI/NIST-ITL standard
02 February 2011 16:18 GMT

Brad Wing

Government agencies have several reasons to exchange information that can establish or verify the identity of an individual. Law enforcement use of fingerprints has long been established in the international community. With the advent of automated search techniques and the capability to transmit data electronically, a need emerged to standardize how the data was sent, received and stored.

To effectively exchange identity data across jurisdictional lines or between dissimilar systems made by different manufacturers, a standard is needed to specify a common format for the data exchange. The ANSI/NIST-ITL standard (as it is now called) was created in 1986 to meet this need. Originally it focused only on fingerprint minutiae. Over the years, it has been expanded to meet the increased needs of government agencies around the world. Over the years, the user community has expanded greatly for the standard. It is still primarily focused upon law enforcement, military, homeland security, disaster recovery and related uses. This standard now forms the basis for the exchange of biometric and related identity information around the world. Many laws and regulations, such as the European Union’s regulations for the exchange of fingerprint data and the FBI’s requirements for biometrics transmission from state and local law enforcement agencies require use of the ANSI/NIST-ITL standard…

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