The General Services Administration, one of the pioneers in developing computerchipbased smart cards, is looking abroad for ideas about how best to develop cards that can support multiple applications.
The General Services Administration, one of the pioneers in developing computer-chip-based
smart cards, is looking abroad for ideas about how best to develop cards
that can support multiple applications.
GSA has joined GlobalPlatform, an organization formed last year by
companies from around the world to develop international standards for developing
and running multiple-application smart card services.
Smart cards, which can store both software and data on a computer chip,
have been around for years. But GSA, the Defense Department and other large
organizations are increasingly interested in having cards that can be used
for various purposes, such as gaining access to facilities or computers
or even conducting financial transactions.
"Government has been saying we should not be forming standards on our
own but discussing requirements in an industry forum, and GlobalPlatform
looks like an appropriate place for us to do that," said Mary Mitchell,
deputy associate administrator for the Office of Electronic Commerce in
the Office of Governmentwide Policy at GSA.
Last year, GSA issued multiple-application smart cards to about 400
employees at the Federal Technology Service as an early pilot to make sure
everyone understood all the issues relating to the technology, Mitchell
GSA is the third government-affiliated organization to become a member
of GlobalPlatform, joining Japanese and South Korean entities.
"This is a very significant announcement mainly because of the size
of the U.S. government and the influence the U.S. government has in procurement,
and with the vendors it deals with," said Bill Schoch, a member of GlobalPlatform's
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