About the Alliance : Overview
About the Secure Technology Alliance
The Secure Technology Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to stimulate the understanding, adoption and widespread application of secure solutions, including smart cards, embedded chip technology, and related hardware and software. The Alliance invests heavily in education on the appropriate uses of secure technologies for authentication, commerce, and the Internet of Things to protect privacy and data. The Secure Technology Alliance engages its members to share their knowledge, experience, and thought leadership through training, research, publications, industry outreach and open forums in the U.S. and Latin America.The Secure Technology Alliance was formerly called the Smart Card Alliance, which changed its name in March 2017. This change resulted from an expansion of the charter and activities to include supporting not just smart card technology, but also embedded chip technology and related hardware and software to support the implementation of secure solutions.
Secure Technology Alliance Members
The Alliance is comprised of U.S. and multi-national companies, government agencies, individuals, and other industry associations, including participants from financial, government, enterprise, transportation, mobile telecommunications, healthcare, and retail industries. Members represent a mix of users implementing secure applications working in concert with leading industry suppliers of the full range of products and services supporting the implementation of systems for secure payments, identification, access, and mobile communications.
Secure Technology Alliance Priorities
The four main priorities of the Alliance are:
- To serve as an educational resource to its members and industry stakeholders implementing secure solutions
- To influence standards and best practices that are relevant to the understanding, adoption and widespread application of secure solutions, including smart cards, embedded chip technology, and related hardware and software
- To maintain a voice in public policy that affects adoption and implementation of smart card, embedded chip and other security technologies
- To provide a forum for cutting-edge discussions and projects on issues surrounding the implementation of secure solutions including smart cards, embedded chip technology, and related hardware and software
Secure Technology Alliance Activities
Events – Secure Technology Alliance conferences, workshops and web seminars that provide the latest information on the development and implementation of secure solutions using smart card, embedded chip and other hardware and software security technologies
Industry and Technology Councils – Member-driven groups that focus on topics in specific industries or market segments to accelerate implementation of secure solutions using smart card, embedded chip and other hardware and software security solutions
Education – Secure Technology Alliance conferences, web seminars, educational courses, newsletters, training and certification programs, and web content that provide application and technology education and information for both Alliance members and the industry. The Secure Technology Alliance also publishes reports and white papers on security technologies, key industry applications, public policy positions, business and implementation case studies and other deliverables focused on helping the industry to understand and overcome deployment issues
Outreach – Industry and international outreach and advocacy to stimulate the understanding, adoption, use and widespread application of smart card, embedded chip and other hardware and software security technologies
The Secure Technology Alliance has member-driven industry and technology councils that are focused groups within the overall structure of the Alliance. Councils have been created to foster increased industry collaboration within a specified industry or market segment and produce tangible results, speedingadoption and industry growth for secure solutions using smart card, embedded chip and other hardware and software security technologies. Groups collaborate on specific deliverables, including reports, briefings and educational material.
Industry Reports and White Papers
The Alliance publishes a wide variety of reports, case studies and white papers, covering both business and technology issues in all industry segments using security technologies. All Secure Technology Alliance-written reports are available to the public at no charge as part of the Alliance educational outreach programs.
Training and Certification
The National Center for Advanced Payments and Identity Security, the Secure Technology Alliance’s physical educational center, offers focused classroom-style smart card training that is designed to help industry professionals understand the essential technical and business issues in evaluating and planning a profitable strategy for smart cards in their own markets. In-depth, full-day workshops are also held in conjunction with Alliance conferences.
The Secure Technology Alliance also offers the Leadership, Education and Advancement Program (LEAP) to advance education and professional development for individuals working in the industries implementing smart card, embedded chip and other hardware and software security solutions.
The Secure Technology Alliance Certified Smart Card Industry Professional (CSCIP) program is the industry’s only standardized certification program that recognizes professionals that have advanced levels of smart card industry knowledge and experience, and have passed a multi-part exam developed by leading smart card industry experts with the support of international industry associations. The CSCIP program offers a full-day training workshop for those individuals are preparing for the CSCIP exam.
The Secure Technology Alliance “Certified System Engineer ICAM PACS” training and certification program will provide advanced training for systems engineers on how to set-up and test ePACS to align with government-wide specifications.
Smart Cards Defined
Defined at the highest level, a smart card is a device (e.g., a plastic card) that includes an embedded integrated circuit (IC) chip. The smart card connects to a reader with direct physical contact or with a remote contactless RF interface. With an embedded microcontroller, smart cards have the unique ability to store large amounts of data (e.g. biometrics), carry out their own on-card functions (e.g., encryption and digital signatures) and interact intelligently with a smart card reader. Smart card technology encompasses many different shapes, features, and functions beyond a typical card implementation and can be embedded in computers, mobile devices, wearables, and tokens.
According to Eurosmart, over 9.6 billion smart cards were shipped worldwide in 2016, with smart card shipments forecast to grow 4% to over10 billion in 2016. Smart card technology is currently used worldwide for many applications, including access control, healthcare, financial, transit, telecommunications, Internet of Things (IoT), and secure identification. Examples of current uses most common in the United States include:
- EMV payment cards and devices being issued by American Express, Discover Network, MasterCard and Visa
- The U.S. Federal Government Personal Identity Verification (PIV) card being issued by all Federal agencies for employees and contractors
- The ePassport being issued by the Department of State
- Transit fare payment systems currently operating or being installed in such cities as Washington, DC, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Atlanta, San Francisco and Los Angeles
- The Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) used in mobile phones
- The secure element used in NFC-enabled mobile phones
- Pay (satellite) TV security cards in set-top boxes for cable and satellite television subscribers
- The Internet of Things (IOT) including connected devices for automobiles, homes, office buildings, healthcare, industrial equipment, transportation, and utilities.
Smart Card Benefits–Security and Privacy
The Secure Technology Alliance advocates the use of smart card technology in a way that protects privacy and enhances data security and integrity. Applications that use smart cards take advantage of the technology’s ability to provide secure, portable storage of data; enable authenticated access to information (either on the card or within the application system); and support secure transactions between the card and the network.