SOURCE: The Smart Card Alliance

July 18, 2007 09:25 ET

Smart Card Alliance and Secure ID Coalition Host Briefing to Educate Congress on the Importance of "Securing Identity"

Briefing Will Underscore Critical Need to Ensure All Government-Issued Identity Documents Are Both Secure and Private

PRINCETON JUNCTION, NJ and WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - July 18, 2007) - Today, the Smart Card Alliance and Secure ID Coalition will brief members of Congress and staff about the best practices and standards for secure and private identity credentials.

"There is a critical need to secure identity documents not only to verify people are who they claim to be, but also to ensure personal information is secure and citizen privacy is protected," said Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance. "Government officials need to be aware of how to maximize security while maintaining the principles of good privacy protection and disclosure for the citizens who often have little choice in what type of credential they are issued. Nothing is more personal or valuable than one's identity; therefore, it is the government's responsibility to manage it properly."

Identity documents are utilized in many different areas including: financial services, border security, driver's licenses, employee credentials, e-government authentication and immigration.

"As the government examines initiatives such as REAL ID, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) and immigration visa programs it is imperative that they understand the use of technology to implement these types of programs in the most secure manner," said Kelli Emerick, executive director of the Secure ID Coalition. "There is a lot of confusion about secure smart credentials and we are here to show Congress the best way to use this technology for identity."

The Smart Card Alliance and Secure ID Coalition advocate best practices for use of technology to verify identity. Specifically, that an organization's requirements for safety and security must be balanced against the genuine desire to protect the privacy of the individuals whose identities need to be verified. This requirement -- how to identify people unequivocally while also protecting their privacy -- must shape every discussion of how to design, build or implement a new, secure, identity management system.

In addition, the ID technology used must be one that can both facilitate and reinforce the system's privacy and security design and goals. Many ID or badging systems currently rely on technologies such as magnetic stripes or bar codes. Such technologies are no longer appropriate, since they cannot meet the requirement to provide strong security while guarding privacy. IDs based on these technologies are tamper-prone, can easily be counterfeited and provide little or no protection for the information they carry. IDs that use the strong security features contained in smart card technology, like anti-tampering and protection against unauthorized access to personal information, can enhance privacy protection in a well-designed and properly implemented system. For more information on best practices, please visit http://www.smartcardalliance.org/pages/publications-identity.

About the Smart Card Alliance

The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to stimulate the understanding, adoption, use and widespread application of smart card technology. Through specific projects such as education programs, market research, advocacy, industry relations and open forums, the Alliance keeps its members connected to industry leaders and innovative thought. The Alliance is the single industry voice for smart cards, leading industry discussion on the impact and value of smart cards in the U.S. and Latin America. For more information, please visit http://www.smartcardalliance.org.

About the Secure ID Coalition

The Secure ID Coalition is an affiliation of companies that provide digital security solutions for identification documents -- including contactless smart cards. The group's mission is to promote the understanding and appropriate use of smart card technology to achieve enhanced security for physical and/or logical access while maintaining user privacy. For more information, please visit http://www.secureidcoalition.org.

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