Personal Identity Verification Project


The Feds are moving quickly toward a single employee identification system for all government employees and contractors. The system would be based on smart cards and allow the use of biometrics in some applications. The project is called Personal Identity Verification and is being managed by NIST.

Federal officials want to replace the existing piecemeal system of agency-level ID cards with "smart cards" that are hard to counterfeit, resistant to tampering and difficult to use by anyone other than the rightful card-holder if lost or stolen.

The new generation of ID cards must be able to digitally store biometric data such as facial photographs and fingerprint images, bear contact and contactless interfaces, and allow the encryption of data that can be used to electronically verify the user's identity, according to NIST draft standards.

Such cards will be required for all federal employees, including members of the military, as well as for employees of private organizations and state and local governments who regularly require access to federally controlled facilities and computer systems. That is a universe of more than 2 million people, said W. Curt Barker, the project manager at NIST.
From Single Government ID Moves Closer to Reality (washingtonpost.com)
Referenced Fri Jan 07 2005 14:53:38 GMT-0700

The State of Utah is in the same boat--every agency does its own ID cards. I'm sure that's true of most governments of any size. The upside of that approach is that it allows groups with high security requirements the freedom to implement something that meets their needs without burdening others with the expense. The downside, of course, is the obvious security risk as government operations become more and more interdependent.

There's a real possibility that whatever the Feds do will make the system cheap enough for others to follow in their tracks and so there could be some positive trickle down effects.