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ActivCard and Precise Biometrics target DOD

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  • ActivCard and PreciseBiometrics target DODSwedish supplier Precise Biometrics and USsmart card software developer ActivCard haveannounced a partnership to provide an on-cardbiometric verification system operating on theOpen platform.

    In particular, Precise Biometrics wants to usethis partnership to target the US Department ofDefences (DOD) Common Access Card project,where ActivCard has already won a contract toprovide software architecture. The DOD has saidthat on-card matching for its 4.3 million cardscheme would be desirable, but has not yet madeany firm decisions on a supplier.

    Under the terms of the agreement, PreciseBiometrics Match-on-Card technology for Javacards will be combined with ActivCard Gold, asecure infrastructure for issuance, enrolment andmanagement of smart cards.

    The advantage of creating a biometric Javaapplet for the Open platform is that it allows thesystem to work using any manufacturers smartcard. Various other manufacturers also havebiometric Java applets, Precise Biometrics said,but they will not work automatically with anysmart card.

    Mrten brink, CTO and co-founder ofPrecise Biometrics told Btt : Our primary goalis to provide this solution to the US DOD.Even a fraction of the 4.3 million cards wouldbe a good deal for us. Precise Biometrics wouldprovide the biometric applet, associated PC software and also combined smart card/fingerprint readers.

    Although the Common Access Card is alreadybeing rolled out in small batches, Java applets arebackward compatible, allowing existing DODsmart card holders to add biometric capabilities ata later stage. Precise Biometrics says the solutionwill be ready to ship within a few months.

    Although Precise Biometrics 100SC solutionwas a little unstable when it was first releasedabout a year ago, the supplier claims the latestgeneration is very stable and is now beingsuccessfully tested in numerous field trials.brink commented: We are now rolling outprojects in the 100s, as companies move on frompilot schemes to equip entire sites. The next stepis for these customers to roll out the productglobally.

    In the future, th supplier says it will produce anapplet for the Multos operating system.

    Contact: Mrten brink at Precise Biometrics,Tel: +46 730 356711,email:

    National Academies toreport on biometricsBiometric technology is one of the authen-tication techniques to be examined by TheNational Academies influential ComputerScience and Telecommunications Board(CSTB) in the USA. The outcome will be areport Authentication Technologies andTheir Privacy Implications which couldhave a significant impact on how biometricswill be viewed by US policymakers.

    The CTSB has assembled a blue ribboncommittee chaired by Dr Stephen Kent, the chief scientist-information security for BBN Technologies/Verizon Communications. Thiscommittee consists of 17 experts drawn fromvarious disciplines. Representing the biometriccommunity is Dr James Wayman, the BiometricsID research director at the College of Engineeringat San Jose State University in California.Wayman is well known for his biometric expertiseand willingness to tackle knotty policy issuesrelated to the use of biometrics.

    The committee met in mid-March for initial briefings and discussions. It hopes toproduce its report for public dissemination in2002. The report is expected to describeauthentication technologies, including bio-metrics, the interplay of technical and non-technical aspects of authentication and theprivacy implications.

    Privacy issues related to biometric auth-entication may include the association of somebiometrics (for example, fingerprint) with lawenforcement functions, the need for specialaccommodations for those with disabilities,religious objections and personal aversion toperceived exposure of body parts to poorlyunderstood technologies.

    Wayman commented that the committees goal is to produce a consensus report withrecommendations, which will be briefed anddisseminated widely.

    While the committees recommendations areimpossible to discern at this early stage, it is likelythat its work will be influential as to howbiometric techniques are perceived and what, ifany, policy measures affecting biometrics shouldbe considered.

    The CSTB agreed to form a committee tocarry out the study following senior levelinterest by US Government policymakers. InSeptember 1999, Peter Swire, the then USGovernments chief counsellor for privacy, metwith CSTB representatives and described hisneed for authoritative studies of biometrics andauthentication.


    2Biometric Technology Today June 2001

    Smart card/Corporate PrivacyC o p y r i g h tN o t i c e

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