White House Order Boosts Smart Cards
Earlier this year, President Bush issued a directive requiring all federal agencies to eventually issue a standardized and secure ID, and while a technology was not specified, observers believe that smart cards will be the standard designated. The directive says identification used for potential terrorist targets needs to be standardized both in quality and form.
The Commerce Department was given six months to develop the standard through the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST’s Government Smart Card Interoperability Specification will probably be updated to fulfill the directive.
Agencies must implement programs to issue the IDs within four months of the update, and then must require use of the ID for physical access and computer network authentication within the next eight months. Funding was not substantially discussed.
The directive is another step toward a standard ID, says former Defense Department official Tony Cieri. Cieri says, “To have the president of the United States sign this and to have all the agencies and the contractor base go to a common standard that promotes interoperability is a major breakthrough.”
Two of the largest smart card projects currently underway include Homeland Security’s pilot program for U.S. transportation workers that involves six million cardholders, and the Defense Department’s Common Access Card, which is now operational for 3.5 million workers and provides online authentication, including signing email.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Card Technology (10/04) Vol. 9, No. 10, P. 6