ANSI Publishes Voice Biometric Data Standard

The American National Standards Institute has published INCITS 456: Speaker Recognition Format for Raw Data Interchange (SIVR-1), a standard governing the type and format of data that should be included with shared audio files used for speaker identification and verification.

INCITS 456 provides a standard format for the exchange of biometric voice data. According to Judith Markowitz, president of J. Markowitz Consultants and editor of the standard, that data includes the bandwidth used to make the recording; date and time of the recording; type of channel that was used to record the data, such as a wireless or landline phone; information about the speaker, such as gender, age, language, and accent; the input device used; security used, such as the type of encryption; and the sampling rate.

“The standard is for creating a way of describing the data so that one organization or part of an organization can effectively communicate with another and share data,” Markowitz explains.

The data format is generic in that it might be applied to and used in a wide range of application areas where automated and human-to-human SIV is performed. It is also intended to be vendor-neutral.

No application-specific requirements, equipment, or features are addressed in this standard. Through its XML orientation, this standard does, however, reflect recognition of the overwhelming dominance of the VoiceXML standard in speech processing and associated XML-based standards.

Among the organizations that stand to benefit most from the standard are military and intelligence operations, law enforcement, and security, though it could also prove to be useful for financial services and telecommunications organizations that share data about suspected fraud and known fraudsters.

“There’s a lot of sharing now between state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies, and when there’s a threat, this information is useful to have,” Markowitz says. “It’s all about providing a way for the other organization to know what information they are getting and how it can be used.”

The standard, according to Markowitz, does not apply to real-time data, but rather, to recordings that are shared “after the fact.”

Though not mandatory, many organizations, like the military and law enforcement agencies, for example, “need these standards to help identify people who might be active threats,” Markowitz says.

According to Markowitz, work on the standard began in 2006.

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