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Personal Identity Verification (PIV)

In August 2004, President George W. Bush issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12) which mandated new standards for secure and reliable personal identification for all federal employees and contractors. These standards are based on sound criteria for verifying an employee’s identity; strongly resistant to identify fraud, tampering, counterfeiting, and terrorist exploration; and includes rapid electronic authentication.

The PIV Card

sample personal identification verification card

The Personal Identity Verification (PIV) card is an identification card issued by a federal agency that contains a computer chip, which allows it to receive, store, recall, and send information in a secure method. The main function of the card is to encrypt or code data to strengthen the security of both employees’ and Veterans’ information and physical access to secured areas, while using a common technical and administrative process. The method used to achieve this is called Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology. PKI complies with all Federal and VA security policies, and is the accepted Global Business Standard for Internet Security. As an added benefit, PKI can provide the functionality for digital signatures to ensure document authenticity.

The PIV card therefore, encrypts data and verifies identity to ensure:

  • Confidentiality — data can only be read by the card-holder.
  • Integrity — Only the card-holder may change the data.
  • Authenticity — There is a guarantee on the origin of the data.
  • Non-repudiation — There is no possibility of falsified data.

With the PIV card, there is an increased reassurance that all electronic communications, data storage, and data retrieval will be further secure and better protected.

Page last updated on July 29, 2019