The Top 10 Hot Identity Topics: A Smart Card Alliance Identity Council White Paper

An in-depth report on issues affecting identity management and protection

Publication Date: February 2006

Publication Number: IC-06001

Smart Card Alliance

191 Clarksville Rd.

Princeton Junction, NJ   08550

Telephone: 1-800-556-6828

About the Smart Card Alliance

The Smart Card Alliance is the leading not-for-profit, multi-industry association of member firms working to accelerate the widespread acceptance of multiple applications for smart card technology. The Alliance membership includes leading companies in banking, financial services, computer, telecommunications, technology, health care, retail and entertainment industries as well as a number of government agencies. 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, visit

Copyright © 2006 Smart Card Alliance, Inc.  All rights reserved.  Reproduction or distribution of this publication in any form is forbidden without prior permission from the Smart Card Alliance.  The Smart Card Alliance has used best efforts to ensure, but cannot guarantee, that the information described in this report is accurate as of the publication date.  The Smart Card Alliance disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of information in this report.

Executive Summary

Our shrinking world forces all of us to be constantly thoughtful of the need to protect our own identity and know with certainty the identities of those with whom we trust our wealth, our privacy, and our security. Protecting one’s identity depends both on personal effort and on the practices, policies, and systems of the organizations to which one entrusts personal information. Individuals must exchange identity information and personal data almost daily with other individuals and with organizations. People constantly risk losing control of identity information and must rely on the entities that share the information to protect it.

With the increasing incidence of identity theft and increasing awareness of both the tangible and intangible costs to society of weak identity systems, individuals and organizations are taking more aggressive steps to secure personal information and to implement identity systems that improve identity verification processes.  

To design and implement secure identity systems, organizations must think through the entire identity process and chain of trust.  A complete identity solution must include policies, procedures, and practices that implement the desired level of security and that describe how people interact with the identity system. The solution must start with accurate vetting of the individual’s identity and follow with identity verification processes that provide secure, authorized access to identity information. The technology selected is also critical; technology in general, and smart cards and biometrics in particular, are powerful tools that can help achieve overall system goals and enforce adherence to the chosen privacy and security policies.

This white paper was developed by the Smart Card Alliance Identity Council to provide a high-level discussion of the top 10 challenges associated with current identity systems. The paper covers a range of topics and offers perspectives on how the most critical identity issues can be addressed with policy, process, and technology solutions. The topics include the following:

·         Discussing the actions government, businesses, and individuals can take to prevent identity theft and describing the role of technology in preventing theft.

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