NIST crafts specs for PIV card readers

The National Institute for Standards and Technology has released for comment a draft of interoperability requirements for PIV card readers.

Comments on Special Publication 800-96 are due by 5 p.m. EST Aug. 11. The publication sets out "requirements that facilitate interoperability between any card and any reader," as set out in Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12.

HSPD-12 mandates the governmentwide adoption of interoperable smart ID cards, called Personal Identity Verification cards, beginning this October.

The cards eventually will be used both for physical and logical access, and SP 800-96 specifies requirements for both contact and contactless readers for both types of access. The requirements are essentially the same for physical and logical access and are similar for contact and contactless readers. The technical specifications are based on standards from the International Standards Organization.

The interface for both contact and contactless readers must conform to the Personal Computer/Smart Card format. The contactless reader, which uses RF technology to read the card's smart chip, will not be able to read a PIV card more than 4 inches from the reader.

Comments should be submitted to using the comment template. Include "comments on Draft SP 800-96" in the subject line.

William Jackson is a staff writer for Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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