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XML Common Biometric Format TC

Date:      Mon, 11 Feb 2002 09:41:22 -0500
From:      Karl F. Best <>
Subject:   OASIS TC Call For Participation: XML Common Biometric Format TC

A new OASIS technical committee is being formed. The OASIS XML Common Biometric Format Technical Committee (XCBF TC) has been proposed by the following members of OASIS: Phillip H. Griffin, Griffin Consulting; John Larmouth, Individual member; Bancroft Scott, OSS Nokalva; and Paul Thorpe, OSS Nokalva.

The proposal for a new TC meets the requirements of the OASIS TC Process (see, and is appended to this message. The proposal, which includes a statement of purpose, list of deliverables, and proposed schedule, will constitute the TC's charter. The TC Process allows these items to be clarified (revised) by the TC members; such clarifications (revisions), as well as submissions of technology for consideration by the TC and the beginning of technical discussions, may occur no sooner than the TC's first meeting.

To become a member of this new TC you must 1) be an employee of an OASIS member organization or an Individual member of OASIS; 2) notify the TC chair, Phillip H. Griffin (, of your intent to participate at least 15 days prior to the first meeting; and 3) participate in the first meeting on 18 March 2002. You should also subscribe to the TC's discussion list. Note that membership in OASIS TCs is by individual, and not by organization. You must be eligible for participation at the time you time you notify the chair.

The private mail list is for committee discussions. TC members as well as any other interested OASIS members should subscribe to the list by going to the mail list web page at, or by sending a message to with the word "subscribe" as the body of the message. (Note that subscribing to the mail list does not make you a member of the TC; to become a member you must contact the TC chair as described in the preceeding paragraph.)

A public comment list will be available for the public to make comments on the work of this TC; the public may subscribe to this list by going to the mail list web page at, or by sending a message to with the word "subscribe" as the body of the message.

The archives of both of these mail lists are visible to the public at

Karl F. Best
OASIS - Director, Technical Operations
978.667.5115 x206

Proposed OASIS Technical Committee for XML Common Biometric Format (XCBF)

Name of the TC

The name of the technical committee is OASIS TC "XML Common Biometric Format", usually abbreviated as the XCBF TC.

Statement of purpose

Biometrics are used to prove or help prove identity based on human characteristics such as DNA, fingerprints, iris scans, hand geometry, etc. This Technical Committee will define a common set of XML 1.0 encodings for the patron formats defined in CBEFF, the Common Biometric Exchange File Format (NISTIR 6529, available at These formats will be specified in accordance with the ASN.1 schema definitions published in ANS X9.84:2000 Biometrics Information Management and Security For The Financial Services Industry (available from the ANSI electronic bookstore at

Neither of the existing biometric standards, CBEFF and X9.84, provide an XML schema for securing, displaying, logging or performing database queries using biometric information. All of the security mechanisms provided in these standards are based strictly on binary, not XML, representations of information. There needs to be a standard way for such tasks to be done using XML; this is the reason for forming the XCBF TC. Provision of a standard XML schema for biometrics will also serve to promote interoperability and data exchange among the different patron formats defined in CBEFF.

The Common Biometric Exchange File Format defines a common set of data elements necessary to support multiple biometric technologies and to promote interoperability of biometric-based application programs and systems by allowing for biometric data exchange. CBEFF describes a set of "required" and "optional" data fields, a "domain of use", and "CBEFF Patron" formats that utilize some combination of these standard elements.

Patron formats specify encoding of the data elements and any additional (non-common) data elements. The two defined CBEFF Patron formats are the BioAPI Biometric Identification Record (BIR) format specified in the BioAPI Consortium BioAPI Specification Version 1.0 and the X9.84:2000 BiometricSyntax type. But all of the encoding formats defined in CBEFF and X9.84 are binary encodings, making their use in XML systems and applications limited or difficult.

A common XML schema that can carry the values in all of the CBEFF standard elements will promote the ability to exchange biometric information, between users of binary patron formats, and with XML-aware applications and systems. As new patron formats are added to CBEFF in future revisions, a common XML schema based on the X9.84 definitions should make it possible to exchange data with applications implemented using earlier versions of CBEFF.

Common, underlying type definitions will allow information to be validated and exchanged without ambiguity. The exact same values specified in binary encodings will be used in XML representations of these values. This feature of the work will serve to promote interoperable solutions.

The canonical variant of the XML Encoding Rules (CXER) will produce inputs suitable for cryptographic enhancement of the XML representations of X9.84 biometric objects, but which in that standard are expected to be processed solely in binary. All processing and security requirements used by this TC will be harmonized with standardization of the XML formats of CMS messages undertaken by ANSI X9F working groups.

Proposed list of deliverables and projected dates

  • Published document defining the ASN.1/XML CBEFF schema, an introduction and overview of canonical DER, PER, and XER, and the processing and security requirements needed for the creation and verification of all cryptographic types defined in X9.84, in the form of XML encoded objects

  • Published working module including ASN.1 XML Markup Value Notation examples of X9.84 biometric types defined in the CBEFF standard, along with the underlying ASN.1 schema

  • Published example DER, PER and XER encodings of values of X9.84 biometric types and equivalent BIR encodings

  • Published documentation of new CBEFF patron formats that may become standard during the period of this work, in particular an anticipated smart card patron format

  • Initial drafts of all deliverables: May 30 2002
  • Draft version of working module: November 2002
  • Draft version of example binary encodings of XML values: March 2003
  • Draft final versions of all remaining deliverables: May 2003
  • Final versions of any new CBEFF formats: July 2003
  • Final versions of all deliverables: November 2003

In order to achieve maximum interoperability between the efforts of various standards organizations, these XCBF deliverables may depend on work being done by ANSI X9F working groups and the new INCITS M1 Biometrics TC, so the completion of these deliverables may be affected by delays (if any) in the work of these groups. Though the schedule extends into November 2003, it is hoped that this work can be concluded no later than May 2003.

Language in which the TC will conduct business

English. Speakers of other languages are encouraged to participate.

Date, time, and place of first meeting

18 March 2002, 11 AM EST conference call. (Some participants will be calling in together from the Hotel Barcelona Universal, Barcelona, Spain during the UBL TC meeting. Contact the chair to meet this group.)

Proposed meeting schedule for the first year

  • Monday March 18, 2002, conference call
  • Thursday, May 16, 2002, Somerset, NJ USA.
  • Thursday, August 22, 2002, Net Meeting/conference call
  • Tuesday, November 19, 2002, Geneva, Switzerland (just prior to the ITU-T SG17 meeting)
  • Further dates for 2003 to be announced

Names and email addresses of proposing members

Name of chair

Phillip H. Griffin, Griffin Consulting, <>

Name of meeting sponsors

*For both phone and face-to-face meetings)
OSS Nokalva and other participants in conjunction with OASIS.

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive.

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