Smart Card Talk : January 2011 : Feature of the Month

The Alliance Industry Councils–2010 Year in Review

The Smart Card Alliance member-driven Industry Councils continued to produce an impressive set of deliverables in 2010, completing 27 projects, holding 13 physical events, and issuing 16 news releases on Council activities or industry positions. Projects focused on educating the different end markets on how smart card technology can be used in healthcare, payment, identity and access control applications and on providing input to the U.S. government on how smart card technology can address critical identity and security issues.

Member participation in Councils grew in 2010, with over 460 individuals from more than 100 organizations participating in at least one Council. Seventy-eight percent of member organizations are involved in Council activities, with strong participation from all membership levels.

This month’s feature article reviews highlights of each Council’s activities in 2010.

Healthcare Council

The Healthcare Council led Smart Card Alliance efforts to position smart card technology as the appropriate solution for healthcare identity management applications.

An estimated 1.5 million Americans have been victims of medical identity theft, with healthcare organizations seeing an increase in the number of data breaches. The Council focused attention on these topics in 2010, publishing the white paper, Medical Identity Theft in Healthcare in March and following up with a well-attended webinar in June.

The U.S. government, through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), was active in 2010 developing the policies and strategies to support the adoption of electronic health records. The Council responded to the ONC request for comments on security requirements for personal health records (PHRs), and members continue to participate in the open committee meetings that are discussing these critical topics.

The Council also focused attention on delivering web-based resources through its Healthcare ID Resources page and on encouraging open, public discussion of industry topics in the Healthcare Identity Management LinkedIn Group.

Looking forward, the Council will be publishing a new white paper early in 2011, discussing how smart card technology can support meaningful use of electronic health records. The Council will also continue its outreach and education efforts in 2011 to promote the need for strong authentication for access to electronic health records and for a solid identity management foundation for the U.S. healthcare information technology infrastructure.

Identity Council

The Identity Council is focused on promoting the need for technologies and usage solutions regarding human identity information to address the challenges of securing identity information and reducing identity fraud. The Identity Council completed a number of projects in 2010 and collaborated with both the Healthcare Council and Physical Access Council in providing comments to the U.S. government on draft policies and standards.

The Identity Council, in collaboration with the Physical Access Council, developed FICAM in Brief: A Smart Card Alliance Summary of the Federal Identity, Credential, and Access Management (FICAM) Roadmap and Implementation Guidance to highlight key concepts, to expand the audience reading the document and to promote its concepts broadly through the identity, credential and access management industry.

The Council published the white paper, “Securing Identity and Enabling Employment Verification: How Do Immigration Reform and Citizen Identification Align?”, discussing identity verification requirements and the role of smart card technology to protect our citizens’ identities and facilitate the secure verification of identity, immigration status, and employment eligibility.

The Council also published the educational brief, Assurance Levels Overview and Recommendations, providing an interpretation of the four assurance levels outlined in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) M04-04, E-Authentication Guidance for Federal Agencies.

The Council led Smart Card Alliance efforts on cybersecurity, submitting comments on the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (in collaboration with Healthcare and Physical Access Councils) and on the Department of Commerce Notice of Inquiry, “CyberSecurity, Innovation and the Internet Economy”

The Council moves into 2011 with plans to continue its leadership on identity management and cybersecurity topics for the Smart Card Alliance.

Payments Council

The Payments Council expanded its charter in 2010. Formerly focused on contactless and mobile payments, the Payments Council charter now covers all chip-enabled payments, including EMV, contactless payments, NFC-enabled payments and applications, mobile payments, and chip-enabled e-commerce.

Moving into EMV, the Council hosted a well-attended webinar, “Top 10 Reasons U.S. Should Consider EMV webinar”, which presented EMV/chip deployment internationally, the benefits of the technology in fighting payment fraud, and implementation options for U.S. card issuers. The Council also developed a brief on EMV roadmap options to support ongoing collaboration with the Merchant Advisory Group.

The Council expanded its resources on mobile applications with the publication of the white paper, Chip-Enabled Mobile Marketing, discussing the value propositions for issuers, merchants, consumers and mobile operators and outlining different implementation approaches.

The Council also focused attention on delivering web-based resources through its EMV Resources and NFC Resources web pages and on encouraging open, public discussion of industry topics in the Smart.Payments LinkedIn Group.

In 2011, the Council will focus on both providing educational resources on EMV in the U.S. and engaging and providing educational resources to industry stakeholders on NFC and mobile payments. A new white paper on EMV roadmap options for the U.S. will be the first deliverable, with publication planned in February.

Physical Access Council

The 2010 Physical Access Council expanded its efforts in providing guidance on the use of the Personal Identity Verification (PIV) card in physical access control systems (PACS) and the impact of the Federal Identity, Credentialing and Access Management (FICAM) guidance on PACS.

The Council collaborated with Identity Council on the document, FICAM in Brief: A Smart Card Alliance Summary of the Federal Identity, Credential, and Access Management (FICAM) Roadmap and Implementation Guidance. In addition, the Council provided comments on the first revision of the FICAM guidance and recommended content for FICAM Part B.

The Council led Smart Card Alliance efforts to provide commentary on the FIPS 140-3 standard and FIPS 201-2 requirements, submit recommendations to GSA on the FIPS 201 Evaluation Program and PIV card test suite, and host afternoon breakout sessions at three Smart Card Interagency Advisory Board meetings.

The Council established a relationship with the National Association of State Chief Information Officers and developed a white paper, ” Personal Identity Verification Interoperability (PIV-I) for Non-Federal Issuers: Trusted Identities for Citizens across States, Counties, Cities and Businesses,” which will be published in February.

In early 2011, the Council will be expanding its educational efforts to include state and local governments and enterprises, and publishing a new white paper on smart cards and biometrics.

Transportation Council

The Transportation Council continued its efforts to educate the industry on new directions for transit payments and provide practical guidance for implementing smart card-based automatic fare collection systems.

The Council white paper, Planning for New Fare Payment and Collection Systems: Cost Considerations and Procurement Guidelines presented a conventional approach for planning, conducting a cost analysis, and procuring a new fare payment system or upgrading an existing system. The Council also developed an Excel cost model that allows the user to input an agency’s current fare payment and fare collection costs and compare them to the costs for proposed alternative systems.

Following up on past publications that discussed how the transportation industry can leverage the contactless deployment in the financial payments industry, the Council published the white paper, A Guide to Prepaid Cards for Transit Agencies, which provides an overview of the prepaid card industry and products and guidance on how transit agencies can leverage network-branded prepaid cards as one element of an open loop fare collection system.

The Transportation Council and Payments Council co-hosted the successful Payments Summit in February 2010. The upcoming 2011 Mobile and Transit Payments Summit, is being held February 15-18, 2011, in Salt Lake City, UT, and is expected to bring over 200 attendees.

The Council will continue its educational efforts in 2011, delivering two workshops on open bank card payments at the Mobile and Transit Payments Summit in Salt Lake City, UT, on Feb. 15, 2001, and in Miami, FL, on Mar. 27, 2011, prior to the APTA Fare Collection Workshop. The Council will also be developing additional white papers on new transit industry directions.

Council Honor Roll

Starting in 2010, the Smart Card Alliance recognized the top three individual contributors in each of the industry councils and created the council ”honor roll“–acknowledging the individuals who were leading contributors and participants in the council projects and activities. The council results could only be accomplished through the tremendous commitment of the many individuals who participate in and contribute to Council projects.

Broad Outreach through the Alliance Web Site

All Council publications are promoted through Alliance press releases and events and are available at no charge on the Alliance web site, providing the Councils with a broad audience for their educational material. The Alliance web site has averaged over 117,000 unique visitors per month in 2010, an increase of 39% over 2009. Over 485,100 Council white papers, position papers and statements were accessed from the Alliance web site in 2010, almost three times the volume of 2009!


The Councils are the engines powering the Smart Card Alliance industry contributions. The many Council collaborative activities–white papers, workshops, webinars, position papers, industry responses–are helping to drive smart card implementations in healthcare, payments, transportation, identity and access control implementations.

Council activities are showcased each month in the Smart Card Talk “From the Alliance Office” article. If you are an Alliance member and would like to participate in an industry council, contact the Council officers or Cathy Medich ( Council publications and member information can be found at /activities-councils.