NSTC Subcommittee on Biometrics and Identity Management Room

NSTC Subcommittee on Biometrics and Identity Management Room

In recent years, electronic identities have proliferated rapidly, playing a key role in commerce, security, and many other aspects of today's highly connected, mobile world. This change has been accompanied by an increased need to ensure high-confidence identification of specific individuals, giving rise to the confluence of biometrics and "identity management" (IdM).

Biometrics are the most definitive, real-time IdM tools currently available; however, use of the technology thus far has mainly consisted of systems designed to meet narrow objectives. To fully meet federal IdM requirements, the use of biometrics technology must be made more robust, scalable and interoperable. Meeting these needs will require biometrics technology enhancements, adjustments of commercial business practices and system designs, and development of consensus on social, legal, privacy and policy considerations. Collaboration among the biometrics community—government, industry and academia—on these common challenges is essential.

Numerous identity management technologies, standards and related plans are being developed independently at the application and sector-specific levels (such as telecommunications, border security, financial services, identity theft, etc.). While these all positively contribute to advancing IdM, the technology and its potential benefits will be limited without cross-sector and cross-application coordination and a common technological foundation. At the Federal level, needs and uses vary significantly, and a one-size-fits-all technical IdM architecture cannot satisfy all agency constraints and requirements. However, there are clear commonalities that would benefit from a coordinated Federal effort, enhance agencies’ abilities to meet mission needs, ensure privacy protection, and enable individuals to exercise their identities securely.

The Subcommittee on Biometrics and Identity Management (Subcommittee) was chartered by the National Science & Technology Council (NSTC) Committee on Technology (COT), and has been in operation since 2003. The purpose of the Subcommittee is to advise and assist the COT, NSTC and other coordination bodies of the Executive Office of the President on policies, procedures and plans for federally sponsored biometric and IdM activities. The Subcommittee will facilitate a strong, coordinated, effort across federal agencies to identify and address important policy issues, as well as research, testing, standards, privacy and outreach needs.

This room consists of the following areas: