ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 Biometrics is a standardization subcommittee in the Joint Technical Committee ISO/IEC JTC 1 of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), which develops and facilitates standards within the field of biometrics. The international secretariat of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 is the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), located in the United States.[1]


ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 was established in August 2002, after the approval of a proposal submitted by ANSI to ISO/IEC JTC 1 for the establishment of a new JTC 1 subcommittee on biometrics.[2] 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.[3] 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 provide support to a wide range of systems and applications that provide accurate and reliable verification and identification of individuals.[4] The subcommittee has published a number of standards pertaining to biometrics in the areas of technical interfaces, data interchange formats, performance testing and application profiles.[5] Other topics within biometrics that have already, or are currently, being addressed by ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 are performance and conformance testing methodology standards, sample quality standards, and standards and technical reports in support of technical implementation issues and cross jurisdictional issues related to the utilization of biometric technologies in commercial applications.[4]

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:[2][6]

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.[2]

Work done by ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 does not include:[7]

ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 Roadmap – 12 August 2015


ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 is made up of six working groups (WGs), 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. Working groups of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 are:[8][9]

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 Formats
ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37/WG 4 Technical Implementation of Biometric Systems[10]
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


ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 works in close collaboration with a number of other JTC 1 subcommittees, specifically ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 17: Cards and Personal Identification, and ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 27: IT Security Techniques.[11] The standard ISO/IEC 7816-11:2004, Identification cards – Integrated circuit cards – Part 11: Personal verification through biometric methods, developed by ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 17 includes an instantiation of a biometric data encapsulator developed by ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37.[12] ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 has also developed standards with external organizations, such as the International Labour Organization (ILO). External organizations, such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), have also adopted many of the standards developed by ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37. In 2011, ICAO published the sixth edition of Document 9303 Part 1, which specifies requirements for passports (specifically, Machine-readable passports) within the realms of physical security features, biometrics, and data storage media. Many of the specifications for biometrics developed and facilitated by ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 were integrated into the document, specifically those pertaining to face, finger, and iris images.[13][14][15]

Organizations internal to ISO or IEC that collaborate with or are in liaison to ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 include:

Organizations external to ISO or IEC that collaborate with, or are in liaison to, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 include:[16]

Certain countries represented within ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 have also adopted a number of the subcommittee's standards. Two official documents of Spain, the electronic national identity card (DNIe) and the Spanish ePassport, store biometric data outlined in ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37's standard data interchange format.[4] In addition, the Planning Commission of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has also planned to use ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37's biometric series of standards for fingerprints (ISO/IEC 19794-4:2005, Information technology – Biometric data interchange formats – Part 4: Finger image data), face (ISO/IEC 19794-5, Information technology – Biometric data interchange formats – Part 5: Face image data) and iris (ISO/IEC 19794-6:2005, Information technology – Biometric data interchange formats – Part 6: Iris image data) data interchange formats for the organization's unique identity project.[13] The UIDAI is currently developing the Aadhaar ("Foundation") system and also plans to incorporate a number of other standards developed and facilitated by ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37, including, ISO/IEC 19785 CBEFF (Common Biometric Exchange Formats Framework), which provides the common structure, metadata, and security block in packaging the biometric data.[5][17]

Member countries

Countries pay a fee to ISO to be members of subcommittees.[1]

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.[1]


As of May 2017, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 has 118 published standards (including amendments) in biometrics. The types of standards within biometrics published by ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37, by working group, are:[11][18][19]

See also

Note: New Zealand Passports accepts passport renewal applications including passport images online. The link above provides access to the New Zealand Online Photo Checker which can be used before completing the application form to independently check that the intended image meets New Zealand Passports photographic requirements.


  1. ^ a b c "JTC 1/SC 37 Biometrics". Retrieved 2015-09-11.
  2. ^ a b c ISO/IEC (2012), "Annex 14 - History", ISO/IEC JTC1 Standing Document N2 (SD2), ISO/IEC
  3. ^ Hogan, Michael D.; Podio, Fernando L. (2003). "Biometric Standards – A Key to a More Secure World". ANSI Reporter. American National Standards Institute. 36.
  4. ^ a b c Podio, Fernando L. (February 2011). "Who is Who? Biometrics Provides Answers for Public and Private Sectors". ISO Focus +. ISO Central Secretariat. 2 (2): 18–19.
  5. ^ a b Frost, Roger (February 2011). "Catherine Tilton: Daon – Leading Biometric Solutions". ISO Focus +. ISO Central Secretariat. 2 (2): 3–6.
  6. ^ Corum, Chris; Ryan, Russ (2007-09-28). "The Maturation of Biometric Standards". Secure ID News. AVISIAN Publishing. Retrieved 2013-07-19.
  7. ^ "JTC 1/SC 37: Biometrics". Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  8. ^ Biometrics Institute (July 2012). "International Biometrics Standards: ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC 37 on Biometrics". Biometrics Institute. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  9. ^ a b ISO. "ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 Structure". Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  10. ^ a b SC 37 Secretariat (2014-01-28). "Resolution G.5". Approved Resolutions from the January 2014 SC 37 Plenary Meeting in Darmstadt, Germany (Resolutions). p. 40.
  11. ^ a b Podio, Fernando L.; Rajchel, Lisa (2013-09-30). "BUSINESS PLAN FOR JTC 1/SC 37 'BIOMETRICS'". Retrieved 2015-09-11. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ ISO (2004). "ISO/IEC 7816-11:2004". Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  13. ^ a b Podio, Fernando L. "Interview with Fernando Podio–Chair of ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC 37–Subcommittee on Biometrics" (PDF) (Interview). Interviewed by Tilton, Catherine. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  14. ^ ISO/IEC JTC1 SC17 WG3/TF1 for ICAO-NTWG (2007-03-23). Machine Readable Travel Documents (MRTDs): History, Interoperability, and Implementation (PDF) (Report). Release 1, draft 1.4. ICAO. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  15. ^ ICAO NTWG (2004-05-21). Biometrics Deployment of Machine Readable Travel Documents (PDF) (Report). 2. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  16. ^ "ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 Liaisons". ISO. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  17. ^ Bhavan, Yojana; Marg, Sansad (December 2009). Biometrics Design Standards For UID Applications (PDF) (Report). 1.0. New Delhi: UIDAI Committee on Biometrics. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
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  19. ^ Podio, Fernando L. (2013-01-01). "Advances in Biometric Standardisation – Addressing Global Market Requirements for Biometric Standards". International Journal of Biometrics. 5 (1): 5–19. doi:10.1504/IJBM.2013.050730. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
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  21. ^ ISO (2012). "ISO/IEC 2382-37:2012". Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  22. ^ ISO (2012-02-28). "ISO/IEC Draft International Standards 30106-1, -2, and -3 - ISO Standards Catalogue – ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 – Standards under development". ISO. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  23. ^ ISO (2012-09-21). "ISO/IEC 19794-5:2011/DAM Amd 2". ISO. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  24. ^ "ISO/IEC Draft International Standard ISO/IEC 30124, and ISO/IEC Technical Reports TR 29196 and ISO/IEC TR 30125 - ISO Standards Catalogue – ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 – Standards under development". Retrieved 2015-09-10.