GSA pushes global card

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

said.

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

secretariat.

MORE INFO

"GSA releases smart card solicitation" [FCW.com, Jan. 11, 2000]

"DOD, GSA buy into universal smart card" [Federal Computer Week, Nov.15, 1999][Federal Computer Week, March 3, 2000]

GlobalPlatform Web site

BY Dan Caterinicchia
May 8, 2000

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