GSA joins smart card group

The General Services Administration has joined GlobalPlatform, an organization that promotes the implementation of multiple-application smart card services by advancing international standards.

The GSA last year issued multiple-application smart cards to most of its Washington, D.C. area-based employees, said Bill Holcombe, director of electronic business technologies at GSA.

"The U.S. government has already discovered the many benefits of multiple-application smart card programs, which allow for increased efficiency and cost savings at many levels," Holcombe said in a release. "The activities of GlobalPlatform nicely align with our objectives to leverage commercially available technology and support standardization between public and private sector interests."

The Navy and the Defense Department also are developing smart card programs that will use public-key infrastructure on military identification cards to ensure secure access to computer networks.

GlobalPlatform was formed last year by organizations interested in issuing multiple-application smart cards to their customers. The group's goal is to define specifications and infrastructure for multi-application smart cards, according to its World Wide Web site, www.globalplatform.org.

The GSA is the third government-affiliated organization to become a member of GlobalPlatform, joining Japanese and South Korean entities.

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