Secure Technology Alliance Celebrates 30 Years of Cross-Industry Achievement Spanning Identity, Payments, Access Control and Beyond
Milestones include contributions to U.S. adoption of EMV chip cards, advancements in PIV cards, passports and mobile driver’s licenses (mDLs)
REDWOOD CITY, Calif., June 22, 2023 – Today the Secure Technology Alliance celebrates a significant milestone in the organization’s history, its 30th anniversary. Since its inception, the Alliance has been the digital security industry’s premier association. It serves as a neutral forum that brings together leading providers and adopters of security solutions designed to protect privacy and digital assets in the payments, identity and access markets, among many others. Alliance activities have been instrumental in the successful adoption and upward momentum of smart cards, Personal Identity (PIV) cards, smart passports, mobile driver’s licenses (mDL) and various other secure technologies in the U.S.
“What an incredible time to be part of the Secure Technology Alliance! As we look back at three decades of achievement, we’d like to take a moment to thank our members,” said Jason Bohrer, the Alliance’s executive director. “The quality of expertise that every one of them brings to the table cannot be overstated. It is through their dedication to their respective industries, and their willingness to collaborate, that we continue to be a driving force for technological advancement globally.”
The Alliance got its start in 1993 as the Smart Card Forum, which later became the Smart Card Alliance and eventually the Secure Technology Alliance. Over three decades, the organization and its associated Forums have produced hundreds of resources and events, been featured in a myriad of prominent media outlets and conducted thousands of cross-stakeholder meetings to increase awareness about emerging technologies and facilitate the successful implementation of those innovations. The U.S. Payments Forum (formerly the EMV Migration Forum) and the Identity and Access Forum are an extension of the Alliance’s diligent work.
The organization’s foremost achievement was its significant contributions to the widespread adoption of EMV chip cards in the U.S. through the 1990s and early 2000s. Inspired by smart card successes in Europe, Alliance members worked tirelessly to influence the development of EMV standards stateside, positioning it as a cornerstone for securing the network economy. By 2004, 70 million Americans were estimated to be using smart cards across the U.S. This included credit and debit cards, government identity credentials, corporate IDs and many other use cases. The number of smart cards in circulation is estimated to be in the tens of billions today.
In addition to smart cards, the Alliance has heavily advocated for secure identity solutions. Following 9/11, common government-wide identification became mandatory for federal employees and contractors in the U.S. This inspired the Alliance to launch its Identity and Access Council, which is now the Identity and Access Forum. Members brokered understanding about the importance of secure technologies in these markets through white papers and educational webinars. The Alliance also worked to develop guidance on acceptance methods for access control. Soon, government agencies began issuing PIV cards and the U.S. Department of State embraced contactless chip-based biometric passports.
The organization’s mission continues to be just as relevant today, with members working on advancing emerging national-scale secure identification programs like mobile driver’s licenses (mDL). Alliance members worked meticulously alongside the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) and other regional issuers to influence the benchmark ISO/IEC Publication of International Standard for Mobile Driver’s Licenses (ISO/IEC 18013-5). This, alongside the creation of the Alliance’s informational website mDL Connection, helped educate the market on pilot programs and adoption efforts in more than 30 U.S. states today, with tech giants like Apple and Google supporting the use of mobile driver’s licenses and digital IDs on their smart devices via Wallet apps.
As the organization looks toward the future, it is ramping up efforts to ensure that consumers and industry stakeholders are well-equipped to embrace a secure, digitally advanced world. The Alliance is expanding its focus to better address the needs of vertical markets such as healthcare, government and transportation. It is also seeking to launch new Forums and working committees to ensure that technological advancements in growing sectors like AI, IoT and biometrics are effective, frictionless and secure. To participate in upcoming projects and influence industry innovation, visit the Alliance website for information on membership.
About the Secure Technology Alliance
The Secure Technology Alliance is the digital security industry’s premier association. Through its U.S. Payments Forum, Identity and Access Forum and its collaborative working groups, the Alliance fosters open dialogue among industry stakeholders to explore and develop secure technology innovations in the payments, identity and access markets. By collaborating on education and guidance, the Alliance helps enable efficient, timely and effective implementation of large-scale, disruptive technologies. For more information, please visit https://www.securetechalliance.org.