08 May, 2006
The Belgian government has chosen a smart card reader from Advanced Card Systems for use in its national electronic identity card system. Designed initially for children 12 and up because of the system’s “Safer Chat,” users can obtain free readers by logging on to a specific web site.
Hong Kong–Advanced Card Systems Ltd., Asia Pacific’s number one in PC-linked smart card readers industry (Frost & Sullivan), announced the decision by the Federal Information and Communication Technology (FedICT) Department of the Belgian Government to deploy ACS’ ACR38 smart card readers for their national electronic identity (eID) cards. The initial scope is the issuance of electronic identity card readers to the 12-year-old children when they obtain their eID cards for the first time.
In order to use the revolutionary applications benefited from the smart card technology, e.g. safe chatting online, reaching secured sites and obtaining secured files online, tax on web information, etc., a high-performance smart card reader must be chosen based on its user-friendliness, multi-platform compatibility and reliability.
As Belgium improves its information infrastructure by implementing e-Certificates for user authentication and for digital signatures, to be used by e-government and other public or private applications, etc., the government is tasked with protecting the access to sensitive information of the citizens’ identities. Determined to meet their goal of improving overall services without compromising the citizen’s security, the government must seek for alternatives other than the services based on the use of classic non-chip-based identity cards. In 2002, Zetes was appointed by the Belgian federal government as the main contractor and global coordinator for the prestigious development project of national eID cards in Belgium whose rollout started in September 2004 (10+ million cards to be delivered over a period of 5 years). ACS’ ACR38 Smart Card Readers were used for this prestigious service project orchestrated by Zetes.
The rollout in October 2005 involves more than 100,000 pieces of ACS’ ACR38 smart card readers in the pilot run of the project “Belgian eID card reader for the 12-year-olds”. By going to the site readers.eid.belgium.be, the users that are entitled to a free ACR38 reader.
Comprehensive testing was done on several big brands of smart card readers on the market. ACS’ ACR38 PC-linked smart card reader was fully tested to prove its compliance with all major ISO-7816 MCU cards in the market, in particular, the Belgian eID card; and so ACS was awarded the coveted honor in the project.
As Ronny Depoortere, Senior Vice President of Zetes PASS, has commented, “The driving factors in winning this tender are based on our overall service level, and especially also the proven technical performance of the ACS’ ACR38 smart card reader and the outstanding service level offered.” ACR38 is unsurpassed as the true smart card reader with robust, technically superior firmware and driver; demonstrating the highest level of interoperability available in the market. With the remarkable performance of ACR38 and its ease in implementation, the great technical support and fine service of ACS, projects from small to large can be deployed with speed and confidence.
Several schemes are implemented with this eID project:
Safer Chat – To allow only people of similar age-group (e.g. from 12 to 15) to chat together. This is to prevent illegitimate use of online chat rooms in soliciting unlawful activities to the youngsters. There were also three separate chat rooms – one for boys only, one for girls only, and one coed. To enter either of these chat rooms, you must present your eID to the connected reader upon prompting, and must be authenticated with the correct secret PIN of the card.
Dossier (‘My Personal File’)
There are several citizen-concerned private files held by the government, e.g. the personal file held by the National Register. The National Register can be perceived as a bank of data where all the inhabitants of Belgium are recorded. For each inhabitant, various confidential pieces of information are preserved: name, first name, place and date of birth, sex, registry office, etc. With the help of the eID card, you can post your personal data and view which public utility is requesting for your identity information. Similar to “Safer Chat”, you must present your eID upon prompting, and must be authenticated with the correct PIN in order to use this service.
Tax on Web
A sure and efficient means to declare your personal income tax, this service helps the citizens do the declaration steps online. This service saves a lot of time and money invested on redundant paperwork. Moreover, there are no more worries about lost post. Simply insert the card to the connected reader and verify your identity with the PIN, and you can enjoy this service anytime.
Founded in 1995 and now listed in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Advanced Card Systems Holdings Limited (ACS) is one of the selected groups of global companies at the forefront of the smart card revolution. ACS develops, manufactures, and distributes a wide range of high quality smart card reading/writing devices, smart cards, and smart card operating systems to over 80 countries worldwide, facilitating an easier adoption of smart card applications in different industries.
As the world’s fourth and Asia Pacific’s number one industry participant within the smart card PC-linked reader industry [Source: Frost & Sullivan, 2003], ACS has the technology, expertise, and global resources to develop and offer the next generation in smart card versatility to satisfy the needs of its customers worldwide. www.acs.com.hk.