Revision May 2017
ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 – Biometrics
Scope and mission
The scope of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 is the “Standardization of generic biometric technologies pertaining to human beings to support interoperability and data interchange among applications and systems.” Generic human biometric standards include:
- Common file frameworks
- Biometric application programming interfaces
- Biometric data interchange formats
- Related biometric profiles
- Application of evaluation criteria to biometric technologies
- Methodologies for performance testing and reporting and cross jurisdictional and societal aspects
The mission of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 is to ensure a comprehensive and high priority, worldwide approach for the development and approval of international biometric standards.
Work done by ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 does not include:
- Work covered by ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 17 for applying biometric technologies to cards and personal identification
- Work covered by ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 27 for biometric data protections techniques, biometric security testing, evaluations, and evaluations methodologies
ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 was established in August 2002, after the approval of a proposal submitted by the American National Standards institute (ANSI) to ISO/IEC JTC 1 for the establishment of a new JTC 1 subcommittee on biometrics. The main purpose of the new subcommittee was to provide an international venue that would harmonize and accelerate formal international biometric standardization, resulting in better interoperability, reliability, usability, and security for future standards based systems and applications. With better interoperability between biometrics systems, the success of these applications would be much more likely. ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 was created with the intent that it would create standards that could support the rapid deployment of open systems, standard-based security solutions for a number of purposes, such as prevention of ID theft and homeland defense. Standards developed by ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 supports a wide range of systems and applications that provide accurate and reliable verification and identification of individuals. The subcommittee has published a significant number of standards pertaining to biometrics in the areas of technical interfaces, data interchange formats, performance and biometric and application profiles. Other topics within biometrics that have already, or are currently, being addressed by ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 are conformance testing methodology standards, biometric sample quality standards, and generic technical best practices, guidance, and implementation requirements that support the interoperability of biometric applications. The Subcommittee also addresses cross jurisdictional issues related to the utilization of biometric technologies in commercial applications.
ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 is made up of six Working Groups, each of which carries out specific tasks in standards development within the field of biometrics. The focus of each Working Group is described in the group’s Terms of Reference (TOR). The WG TOR, current standards activities, published standards and future plans are reflected in the WG roadmaps. The Working Groups of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 are:
|Working Group||Working Area|
|ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37/WG 1||Harmonized Biometric Vocabulary|
|ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37/WG 2||Biometric Technical Interfaces|
|ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37/WG 3||Biometric Data Interchange Forms|
|ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37/WG 4||Technical Implementation of Biometric Systems|
|ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37/WG 5||Biometric Testing and Reporting|
|ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37/WG 6||Cross-Jurisdictional and Societal Aspects of Biometrics|
WG 1 is responsible for the development of a Harmonized Biometric Vocabulary. The main purpose of this work is to provide a systematic description of the concepts in the subject field of biometrics and to clarify the use of the terms in this subject field. It supports ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37’s goals by responding in a timely fashion to requests pertaining to the area of expertise in biometric vocabulary initiated by ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37, its WGs or other organizations such as ISO/IEC JTC 1 SCs, ISO Technical Committees and ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC 37 Liaison organizations.
WG 2 addresses necessary interfaces and interactions between biometric components and sub-systems, as well as the possible use of security mechanisms to protect stored data and data transferred between systems. Responsibilities of this group include the development of the ISO/IEC 19784, Information technology—Biometric application programming interface (BioAPI), and the ISO/IEC 19785, Information technology — Common Biometric Exchange Formats Framework (CBEFF) multi-part standards. Versions of these standards have already been published in previous years.
WG 3 addresses the standardization of the content, meaning, and representation of biometric data formats which are specific to a particular biometric technology or technologies. WG 3 responsibility includes the development of the ISO/IEC 19794 Information technology — Biometric data interchange formats multi-part standard which specifies these biometric data interchange formats for a number of biometric modalities, associated conformance testing methodology standards, ISO/IEC 39794 Information technology – Extensible biometric data interchange formats multi-part standard, and the development of the ISO/IEC 29794 Information technology — Biometric sample quality multi-part standard.
The initial focus of WG 4 was the development of biometric profiles. Biometric profiles specify what base standards apply and what options and ranges of values in those base standards are necessary and sufficient to ensure biometric interoperability for a particular set of application functions. This work led to a three-part international standard, ISO/IEC 24713 Information technology — Biometric profiles for interoperability and data interchange. The present, ongoing work is focused on generic technical best practices, guidance, and implementation requirements that support the interoperability of biometric applications. Areas being addressed include: biometric enrolment; biometrics use with mobile biometrics; best practices for implementing biometric systems; use of biometrics in video surveillance systems and design and specification and biometric recognition in automated border control systems.
ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37/WG 5 Biometric Testing and Reporting
WG 5 addresses the standardization of testing and reporting methodologies and metrics that cover biometric technologies, systems and components. It is responsible for the development of the ISO/IEC 19795 Information technology—Biometric performance testing and reporting multi-part standard. WG 5 is also addressing other performance and evaluation-related standards and technical reports to meet current biometric technology trends and future needs in this area such as an evaluation methodology for environmental influence in biometric systems and a technical report on the characterization and measurement of difficulty for fingerprint databases for technology evaluation.
WG6 supports the design and implementation of biometric technologies with respect to several cross-jurisdictional issues such as accessibility, health and safety, societal considerations and legal requirements. WG 6 is involved in the development of the multi-part standard ISO/IEC 24779 Information Technology — Cross-jurisdictional and societal aspects of implementation of biometric technologies – Pictograms, Icons and Symbols for use with Biometric Systems. WG 6 is also developing technical reports (some of them already published) such as ISO/IEC 29144 Information technology — Biometrics — The use of biometric technology in commercial Identity Management applications and processes and Information Technology — Biometrics — Guide on designing accessible and inclusive biometric systems, ISO/IEC TR 21421 – Information Technology – Biometrics – Biometrics and identity management for major incident response, and ISO/IEC TR 24119 – Information Technology – Biometrics — Use of biometrics for identity management in healthcare.
ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 works in close collaboration with a number of other JTC 1 subcommittees such as ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 17, Cards and personal identification and ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 27, IT Security techniques, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 31, Automatic identification and data capture techniques, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 35¸ User interfaces, JTC 1/SC 38 – Distributed Application Platforms & Services, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 41¸Internet of things and related technologies, ISO/IEC JTC 1/WG 9, Big data, and ISO TC 215, Health informatics, ISO TC 292, Security and resilience, as well as external standards organizations such as the International Biometrics and Identification Association (IBIA), International Labour Office of the UN, CEN/TC 224/WG 18, Interoperability of biometric recorded data, OASIS Biometric Services Technical Committee, and Frontex (Category C liaision with JTC 1/SC 37 WG 4).
The 29 “P” (participating) members of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 are: Australia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and United States of America.
The 13 “O” (observing) members of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 are: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ghana, Hungary, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Ireland, Kenya, Romania, Serbia, Thailand and Turkey
Standards and Plenary Meetings
As of May 2017, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 has 119 published standards/technical reports (including amendments) in biometrics. The following plenary meetings of SC 37 have been held since 2002:
11‑13 December 2002 in Orlando, Florida
11‑12 September 2003 in Rome, Italy
14‑15 June 2004 in Seoul, Korea
04‑05 July 2005 in Sun City, South Africa
10‑11 July 2006 in London, UK
25‑26 June 2007 in Berlin, Germany
14‑15 July 2008 in Busan, Korea
13‑14 July 2009 in Moscow, Russian Federation
19‑20 July 2010 in Melaka, Malaysia
11‑12 July 2011 in Kyoto, Japan
16‑17 July 2012 in Paris, France
20‑12 January 2014 in Darmstadt, Germany
19‑20 January 2015 in Toledo, Spain
18‑19 January 2016 in Martigny, Switzerland
6-7 February 2017 in Sydney, Australia
Each of the six SC 37 Working Groups meets twice a year. One of the set of meetings is held in conjunction with the Plenary.