WASHINGTON The U.S. government has adopted new smart card-based identification cards for federal employees and government contractors.
The Commerce Department said Friday (Feb. 25) the new ID standard requires all federal agencies to issue the smart cards to employees and contractors to gain access to federal buildings and facilities.
"This new standard will enable federal agencies to issue more secure and reliable forms of identification to better protect federal assets against threats such as terrorist attacks. It also will help safeguard against other risks such as identity theft," Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said in a statement.
Computer security specialists at the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology developed the "Personal Identity Verification" cards in conjunction with other agencies, the agency said.
Security around the nation's capital is extremely tight, with barriers ringing nearly all federal buildings. Vehicular access to sensitive areas such as the White House complex have been severely curtailed since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.