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Evolving trends in government ID

The heightened need for security and improved efficiency has created a new generation of advanced electronic government ID credentials for e-visas, national ID cards, health care and more. Driven by considerations of cost, security and streamlined service delivery, another trend is moving to mainstream: the multi-purpose, multi-functional ID card that goes beyond proof of identity to fulfill additional functions, such as entry to a facility, online services access or border crossing.


April 4, 2012
By Craig Sandness

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In order to perform multiple levels and types of authentication in different scenarios, a number of technologies must be used. These may include contact or contactless IC chips, RFID tags, inlay materials and wire transfer technology, plus unique credential constructions, counterfeit-resistant optical security media, and embedded hologram technology.

Common elements among these programs are the provision for an additional “visual” security layer that enables reliable credential authentication with the human eye. This is a vital element helping such multi-purpose cards retain their security and effectiveness when technology resources such as card readers or network connections are unavailable.

Maintaining compliance with international standards is even more challenging when accommodating multiple technologies in a single card. Card manufacturers must take into account materials science, ISO and other standards, the lamination of complex structures plus resistance to stresses including attempts at physical alteration, inconsiderate handling or extreme weather conditions.

The requirements for delivering such programs are highly demanding. To ensure a successful outcome, government customers must ask a great deal of their providers: a holistic, system-wide approach; deep design skills; proven industry expertise and technical capabilities; constant innovation;  and adherence to international standards. Nevertheless, the success stories are beginning to emerge. Multi-functional cards are in use today in major ID programs such as the German National ID card, the Italian Carabinieri ID card, Saudi Arabia’s National ID card, and the new generation U.S. Green Card that utilize HID Global’s LaserCard technology.

Craig Sandness is the vice-president of Government ID Solutions, HID Global.


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