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CHIPS Articles: NIST Proposes Update to Personal Identity Verification Standard for Federal Employees and Contractors

NIST Proposes Update to Personal Identity Verification Standard for Federal Employees and Contractors
By CHIPS Magazine - November 4, 2020
An access control decision must be made when an individual attempts to access security-sensitive buildings, information systems, and applications. An accurate determination of an individual’s identity supports making sound access control decisions. Authentication of an individual’s identity is a fundamental component of physical and logical access control.

A new draft issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology establishes a standard for a Personal Identity Verification (PIV) system that meets the control and security objectives of Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 [HSPD-12]. NIST reported the document is based on secure and reliable forms of identity credentials issued by the federal government to employees and contractors.

“These credentials are used by mechanisms that authenticate individuals who require access to federally controlled facilities, information systems, and applications. This Standard addresses requirements for initial identity proofing, infrastructure to support interoperability of identity credentials, and accreditation of organizations and processes issuing PIV credentials,” NIST said in a release.

The standard defines common credentials and authentication mechanisms offering varying degrees of security for both logical and physical access applications. The draft revision proposes changes to FIPS 201-2, Standard for Personal Identity Verification of Federal Employees and Contractors, including: Expanding specification on the use of additional PIV credentials known as derived PIV credentials; procedures for supervised remote identity proofing; the use of federation as a means for a relying system to interoperate with PIV credentials issued by other agencies; alignment with the current practice/policy of the federal government; and specific changes requested by federal agencies and implementers.

The draft of FIPS 201-3 is available for review and comment on the NIST pages website at and as a printable PDF.

NIST advised comments on FIPS 201-3 must be received on or before February 1, 2021. Comments should be submitted on the project repository at Comments may alternatively be sent to preferably using the comment template.

All submissions, including attachments and other supporting materials, will become part of the public record and subject to public disclosure. NIST reserves the right to publish relevant comments, unedited and in their entirety.

Relevant comments received by the deadline will be published electronically at without change or redaction, so commenters should not include information they do not wish to be posted. Personal information, such as account numbers or Social Security numbers, or names of other individuals, should not be included. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information.

FIPS 201-3 Workshop: A public virtual workshop will be held December 9, 2020 to present Draft FIPS 201-3. Please visit the Draft FIPS 201-3 event page for agenda and registration details.

For all other inquiries, please email


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