Pa. chooses PKI to manage first-responder access cards

Pennsylvania has chosen a public-key infrastructure to manage its digital certificates for First Responder Authentication Cards.

FRACs, compliant with Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12, are issued specifically to emergency response personnel. They would allow first responders to enter government buildings and secure areas in situations such as natural disasters or terrorist attacks. The initiative is designed to remedy access problems such as those state and local emergency officials encountered responding to the 2001 attack on the Pentagon, according to the Homeland Security Department.

The standardized digital infrastructure will help the state manage first responders and allow officials to adjust to emergencies by distributing personnel where they’re needed most.

“The selection of a universal standard across the state will allow Pennsylvania to better organize, account for and identify first responders in the event of an emergency,” said Kristen Miller, Pennsylvania's deputy for information technology. “Additionally, the commonwealth can leverage its credentials in encryption, digital signing and strong authentication services.”

Pennsylvania chose VeriSign’s Shared Service Provider PKI for its FRACs.

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