Fingerprint export control news

I just noticed that the fingerprint group at NIST have dropped NFIS2 and created NBIS: NIST Biometric Image Software.

NBIS is split into 2 parts:

  • NBIS Non-Export Control: fingerprint quality analysis and feature detection tools. Source code available for download with no distribution restrictions.
  • NBIS Export Control: fingerprint comparison utilities. Not available for download, CDROM must be requested.

This is good news – it is now much clearer which parts of NIST’s software are subject to export control concerns, and additionally, NIST have clarified the reasoning:

It is our understanding that NFSEG and BOZORTH3 fall within ECCN 3D980, which covers software associated with the development, production or use of certain equipment controlled in accordance with U.S concerns about crime control practices in specific countries.

Unfortunately the freely downloadable part is not enough to finish dpfp or create a generic fingerprinting library, because the code required to actually compare fingerprints is only present in the export controlled part. However, I’m now in a position to continue researching the legal issues.

Pressing questions I’d have for any experts here:

  • What are the impliciations of ECCN 3D980 for an open source project?
  • Can I legally export the NBIS Export Control CDROM to the UK without having to fill out any associated paperwork?

1 thought on “Fingerprint export control news

  1. Georges

    Hi Drake,
    I was wondering if you had any new developments regarding DPFP ? That’s the last non working hardware I have, and I would love to make it work :)


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