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NIST Seeks to Turn The Internet Into a Biometric Minefield

About five years ago, NIST decided to create specifications to determine if biometric devices were viable over Web protocols. The Biometric Web Services project was formed. The group is focused on the creation of two basic protocols that would eliminate the need for biometric devices to have dedicated connections and dedicated device drivers, says Micheals. If successful, users would be able to control any device from anywhere. In terms of physical connectivity, the use of Web services will eliminate the need for a USB or IEEE 1394 connection and device drivers. Instead, the connection can be made via Ethernet or Wi-Fi. Additionally, a system won’t need to rely on device-specific, software-based drivers. Web services also change logical connectivity in that devices could be shared from an Internet-enabled device, such as a tablet or handset, and it won’t matter whether or not the device operates on the same platform. “There is no reason why devices shouldn’t inherently understand Web protocols. It’s very tractable to have this technology in a small handheld form,” Micheals says. With the Biometric Web Services protocols, mobile devices can be programmed to talk to the Web and no longer need data storage capabilities. “What we’re really trying to do is to describe an outlet, cut the cord on the biometric sensor, and define a clear boundary between components of the system.”

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