NIST Urged to Expanded Role of Biometric Authentication

NIST Urged to Expanded Role of Biometric AuthenticationThe International Biometrics & Identification Association (IBIA) is urging the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to expand the role of biometrics as it updates its guidance publication on electronic authentication. The development is a result of NIST’s call for comments for NIST Special Publication 800-63-2 Electronic Authentication Guideline.

IBIA argues that since the last update of 800-63-2 back in August of 2013, biometric technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, both in its technological quality and its use. It’s increasingly being used in multi-factor authentication systems; it increasingly has provided users with a fast and convenient authentication options; systems have been developed that effectively use biometrics as authentication tokens; and NIST itself has used server-based biometric verification in a pilot project for the National Strategies for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) program.

In a statement, IBIA Vice Chairman Walter Hamilton pointed to recent years’ “surge in the use of biometric technologies for mobile banking and other e-authentication applications,” adding that “NIST should support this trend by providing guidance on how to ensure the effective implementation of biometrics as an authentication token rather than narrowly limiting its use.”

It’s a fair point. NIST is widely respected as a leading authority on biometric technology and plays a key role in certifying biometric systems. As such, the organization would appear to have a responsibility to maintain an accurate and up-to-date perspective on the technology. And with that in mind, it seems likely that NIST will be willing to at least give the IBIA’s recommendations a sympathetic hearing.

May 27, 2015 – by Alex Perala