A message from Carey Lening

Ingrid Melve Ingrid.Melve@uninett.no
Thu, 10 Jan 2002 11:31:24 +0100

> > How come every other country has a government issue smart card enabling
> > thousands of super spiffy applications? Identity _IS_ the mother of all
> > killer enabling technologies afterall. Probably becasue other places
> > actually have a distinction between business and government. Oh that that
> > noone else is so hung up on sex being bad.
> Canada doesn't have this government issue smart card. 
> 1 country invalidates your argument as phrased. I don't remember seeing
> anything like that in Spain either. Although now you've got me
> looking in my wallet. 

Many European countries have national identity cards, or identity cards 
that are recognized as a proof of identity.  In some countries you are 
required to carry a proof of identity (or the national identity card) 
at all times, luckily Norway is not among those countries.
In my case I may chose to use
 - passport (not likely, as I do not carry it around)
 - one of my credit cards or bank cards, all with picture ID at back 
	(smart solution, but not a smart card)
 - national driver's license, recognized in EU++
All of the above have my National Identity Number 230469 35012, which 
is used as the unique ID by all sorts of government, financial and 
other institutions.  

None of these are a smart card.  As far as I know, only Finland have a 
national smart card infrastructure, the FINEID
The spiffy applications are mostly absent, some of this is the chicken 
and egg problem, and some is the fact that non-interconnected user 
management systems solves the problem of authentication.  And there are 
no pluggable authentication/authorization modules for web servers that 
interconnect with a national EID - yet.  The hope is that the stuff I 
am working with for large intranet solutions
may scale up to a "national" solution and be pluggable with smart cards 
for digital signatures.   Iff I got the architecture right ;)

 PS: I did have a smart card with bank ID on, back in 1985, my very 
first ATM-enabled card.  If you have looked at hardware costs, you know 
why the banks went back to other solutions.  Smart card readers are 
still way to expensive for smart cards to make it in their current 
form.  However, if the cost of cell phone connectivity goes down, the 
smart cards in the phones may be used, most of these are preloaded with 
the neccessary software.  And in the Nordic countries, cell phones are 
bodyparts, not something you may or may not carry around.