Thursday, October 26, 2006

Smart Card Deadline Looms

RFID Law Journal
Newsletter No. 29
October 26, 2006

At the end of the week, federal agencies shall begin issuing new secure identity cards to millions of employees and contractors pursuant to a post-9/11 executive branch directive aimed at securing the federal workforce (See Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12). The government-issued “smart card” will be used to verify identities when employees (or contractors) enter a government facility or log onto its computer networks.

The government smart card identifies a person’s name and agency, and it contains an electronic chip with personal data, such as the carrier’s photo, two fingerprints, a special identification number and digital certificates facilitating his or her access to locations and computer systems.

Agencies have been required to issue the smart cards and install recognition software so that governmental employees can carry one identification card to access multiple offices / systems. IBM, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman Corp., Accenture, Ltd., General Dynamics Corp., Bearingpoint, Inc., and Electronic Data Systems, Inc. are among the approved service providers for the installation projects at federal agencies.

The rollout, including the initial issuance of the smart cards and the upgrading of equipment required to read them, is expected to take several years.

For more information about the rollout or HSPD-12, you can read more at the following informational links:

“Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 Policy for a Common Identification Standard for Federal Employees and Contractors” (August 27, 2004)

“Smart Card Activities of the NIST” (October 6, 2004)

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