Revised draft smart-card specs expected by March

The Government Smart Card Interagency Advisory Board is reworking the National Institute of Standards and Technology's draft standard for governmentwide identification cards.

The board will revise NIST Special Publication 800-73 as well as the proposed Federal Information Processing Standard 201 based on it. The goal is to accommodate agencies' personal identity verification (PIV) cards, said NIST's Curt Barker, co-chairman of the PIV project.

"Once the IAB work is complete, around Jan. 20, we will publish the revisions for comment," Barker said. "We may issue the new publication and draft FIPS around March."

The board is "working to come up with something more recognizable to vendors with large programs" so as to require only minimal changes for compliance. "Any software changes mean considerable expense," Barker said.

Java-based smart ID cards are already in use by the Defense Department, the General Services Administration, NASA and the Transportation Security Administration, which recently began testing its biometric Transportation Worker Identification Credential.

NIST had hoped to finalize the standard by Feb. 25. But the release of the draft caused a flurry of concerns because none of these agencies' smart cards?which account for roughly 3.5 million cards?would comply with the proposed specifications.

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