IDG News Service - WASHINGTON -- Imagine a so-called smart card that contained your U.S. government-checked identity, complete with biometric identifiers, plus your three credit-card accounts, your check card account, possibly even your health records.
Such a card, containing a small chip that could store kilobytes of data, could let you zoom through the toll stations on your local highway, act as a passport when you cross international borders and contain your passwords to a number of e-commerce Web sites. If this sounds a little far-fetched, it is, at least at the moment.
But advocates of government-mandated smart cards envisioned multiple uses for a small piece of plastic in the name of protecting the U.S. from illegal aliens and terrorists during a discussion in Washington yesterday.
Many privacy advocates have protested proposals to create a national identification card, saying a card could be used to track U.S. residents and amass databases full of information.
Backers of the Real ID Act, passed by Congress in May, are careful to say it doesn't create a national ID, but it would set up some minimum standards that states must follow in order for their driver's licenses to remain valid federal identification.
In passing the Real ID Act, Congress did not intend to create a series of hard-to-comply-with rules, but to encourage minimum standards for states to verify the identities of driver's license holders, said U.S. Rep. Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican. "We weren't trying to carve out artificially high standards," said Davis, speaking at a biometrics policy forum sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington think tank. "This is not an unfunded mandate [to states]."
Even Davis' call for moderate standards didn't stop other backers of nationally used smart ID cards from dreaming of a wide number of uses for a card with machine readable memory capacity. There could be some privacy risks if smart ID cards are implemented badly, but smart card technology holds much promise, said Paul Rosenzweig, senior legal research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
Regulations attached to the Real ID Act could allow a variety of commercial uses, including a link to credit cards or check cards, Rosenzweig said. "The start-up cost borne by the government will be the seed money for commercial enterprise," he predicted of smart cards.
The Real ID Act, passed as part of a defense and antiterrorism funding bill, mandates that states require several forms of verifiable identification before issuing driver's licenses. States can decide not to comply with the law, but then their driver's licenses could not
- Warning: Cloud Data at Risk Experts agree that relying on SaaS vendors to backup and restore your data is dangerous. Yet that's exactly what huge portions of the...
- The Opportunities and Challenges of the Cloud In this report F5 poses questions to IDC analysts, Sally Hudson and Phil Hochmuth, on behalf of F5's customers to better understand the...
- Mobile First: Securing Information Sprawl Learn how the partnership between Box and MobileIron can help you execute a "mobile first" strategy that manages and secures both mobile apps...
- The Truth About Cloud Security "Security" is the number one issue holding business leaders back from the cloud. But does the reality match the perception?
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- Responding to New SSL Cybersecurity Threat The featured Gartner research examines current strategies to address new SSL cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. All Security White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!