New rules governing appropriate compression methods for scans

Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) is the highest agency within the country’s Federal Ministry of the Interior responsible for matters of IT security.

To ensure legal conformity, the BSI has prohibited scanning methods that utilize so-called pattern matching and substitution for image compression, an example being JBIG2. This prohibition also applies to the related soft pattern matching.

The following is an English translation of the text of these rules, which can be found on the BSI website and have been in force since 16 March 2015:

The following rules must be adhered to when choosing appropriate compression methods while implementing Technical Guideline TR-RESISCAN:

  • Care MUST be taken to choose appropriate image compression methods when scanning.

  • Both lossy and lossless methods are considered appropriate.

  • Techniques that utilize so-called pattern matching and substitution for image compression MAY NOT be used. The related soft pattern matching MAY NOT be used either.

When pattern matching is implemented inaccurately or erroneously, there is the risk that the scanning result will differ semantically from the original (e.g. by transposing characters). Even if the implementation is done correctly, the required level of legal compliance cannot be ensured due to a lack of certainty in determining the conformance of content and imagery.

These rules are effective immediately (16 March 2015) and will be incorporated within the next release of Technical Guideline BSI TR-03138.


(Information current as of: June 2015)