These iris images meet the biometric standard. The camera image on the left is run through commercial software to produce the image (right) that can be placed on the PIV card and for other uses such as an e-passport. Photo courtesy of the NIST Image Gallery

It’s official. An iris imaging option for Federal Personal Identity Verification (PIV) cards and an on-card fingerprint comparison option have been recommended.

In the latest update of Federal Information Processing Standards Publication Series (FIPS-201), NIST issued its official Biometric Data Specifications for Personal Identity Verification (Special Publication 800-76-2) in mid-July.

Government-issued PIV smart cards are carried by federal employees and contractors to access government facilities and computer networks. They carry a photo, fingerprint information, personal identification number and a cryptographic credential -- computer-generated random data recognized only by the PIV card -- which securely links the card to the card holder.