OASIS to create XML standard for biometrics

OASIS (the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards), an organization that creates standards for information exchange technologies such as XML (extensible markup language) and Web services, announced Thursday that it has formed a committee to design an XML schema for biometric data.

Biometrics is technology that uses an individual's unique physical characteristics, such as iris or fingerprint patterns, to verify his identity and grant access to systems, locations or data. Biometrics has garnered increased attention in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, with many companies and experts pushing for its further adoption in security systems, especially those used at airports.

XML is a markup language similar to HTML (hypertext markup language), the language Web pages are written in, that is seen by many as the basis for many future computing endeavors, including Web services. Microsoft Corp. is betting heavily on XML, using it as part of the core of its .Net initiative.

The OASIS committee, called the XML Common Biometric Format Technical Committee, or XCBF, will design a standard way for biometric data and functions to be communicated and performed via XML, according to a statement from OASIS. The XCBF will define the Common Biometric Exchange File Format which will describe biometric data in a standard way, easing its exchange between systems, according to OASIS.

Membership in the XCBF is open to all organizations and individuals with an interest in creating the XML schema for biometrics, OASIS said.

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