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NIST SP 800-73 Interfaces for Personal Identity Verification
Companion Document to FIPS 201
on Monday 06 February 2006 print the content item {PDF=create pdf file of the content item^plugin:content.50}
in Publications > Special Publications - SP 800 series

The Homeland Security Presidential Directive HSPD-12 called for a common identification standard to be adopted governing the interoperable use of identity credentials to allow physical and logical access to Federal government locations and systems. The Personal Identity Verification (PIV) of Federal Employees and Contractors, Federal Information Processing Standard 201 (FIPS 201) was developed to establish standards for identity credentials. This document, Special Publication 800-73 (SP 800-73), specifies interface requirements for retrieving and using the identity credentials from the PIV Card and is a companion document to FIPS 201.

Download the entire NIST SP 800-73 PDF

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Below is a short description of SP 800-73 from, edited:

FIPS 201 defines procedures for the PIV lifecycle activities including identity proofing, registration, PIV Card issuance, and PIV Card usage. FIPS 201 also specifies that the identity credentials must be stored on a smart card. This document contains technical specifications to interface with the smart card to retrieve and use the identity credentials. These specifications reflect the design goals of interoperability and PIV Card functions. The goals are addressed by specifying a PIV data model, communication interface, and application programming interface. Moreover, this specification enumerates requirements where the standards include options and branches. This document goes further by constraining implementers' interpretation of the normative standards. Such restrictions are designed to ease implementation, facilitate interoperability, and ensure performance, in a manner tailored for PIV applications.

This document specifies the PIV data model, Application Programming Interface (API), and card interface requirements necessary to comply with the mandated use cases, as defined in Section 6 of FIPS 201 and further elaborated in Section 1.7 below, for interoperability across deployments or agencies. Interoperability is defined as the use of PIV identity credentials such that client-application programs, compliant card applications and compliant integrated circuit cards (ICC) can be used interchangeably by all information processing systems across Federal agencies. The specification defines PIV data element identifiers, structure, and format. This specification also describes the client-application programming interface and the card command interface for use of the PIV Card. This document does not address the back-end processes that must be performed to attain full identity assertion.

The SP 800-73 document was created by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and is public domain (not subject to copyright).

NIST Special Publication # 800-73

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