Smart Card Alliances advoces chips for REAL ID

Jan. 14, 2008
Manufacturers organization advocates adding chips for future e-government services

PRINCETON JUNCTION, NJ, January 14, 2008 – In its final ruling on minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards last week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security left the door open for states to decide for themselves if they want to set higher standards for secure REAL ID driver’s licenses and e-government services.

“Imagine the impact a state could have on protecting citizens’ identities and improving government services if every driver’s license they issued was capable of strongly authenticating online and in-person transactions,” said Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance. “That opportunity is before states now as they define their REAL ID plan to comply with the federal standard, which includes only minimum technology requirements since it faced significant opposition from some states due to costs.”

“Smart Card Technology: The Right Choice for REAL ID,” a new brief issued by the Smart Card Alliance, explains the benefits that smart card technology can bring to states for improved security and cost-efficiency in the delivery of state-operated programs. Smart card technology, which is required for all federal employee identification cards, provides added identity fraud and privacy protection by supporting PINs, biometrics and encryption of sensitive data on the credential and during communication with a reader. A state-issued driver’s license enhanced with this chip technology would enable strong authentication for e-government applications, giving citizens secure, cost-effective and convenient access to services such as electronic filing of forms and online identity proofing for licenses and registrations. In addition, it would reduce fraud and administration costs for state benefits programs.

States can choose to incorporate such e-government services by chip-enabling its official “state ID” and combining these services with the REAL ID driver’s license. These services can both generate cost savings and establish potentially new revenue sources.

"States have a golden opportunity to leverage the federal funding available for REAL ID implementation and, by adding a few additional dollars per license, both meet the federal guidelines and provide immense benefits to citizens and the state for the future," concluded Vanderhoof.

Download the SCA's brief: “Smart Card Technology: The Right Choice for REAL ID.”