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Created: February 11, 2002.
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OASIS Technical Committee for XML Common Biometric Format (XCBF).

A proposal has been received by OASIS for a new technical committee to define a common set of XML 1.0 encodings for the patron formats defined in CBEFF, the Common Biometric Exchange File Format (NISTIR 6529). In this setting, biometrics "are used to prove or help prove identity based on human characteristics such as DNA, fingerprints, iris scans, hand geometry, etc." The encodings created by the technical committee on XML Common Biometric Format (XCBF) "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. Projected deliverables from the TC include (1) a 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; (2) a 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; (3) a published example DER, PER and XER encodings of values of X9.84 biometric types and equivalent BIR encodings; (4) documentation of new CBEFF patron formats that may become standard during the period of this work, in particular an anticipated smart card patron format."

TC description and rationale [from the 2002-02-11 proposal]:

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.

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