Smart Cards Advance in IT Security, Federated Identity: Highlights From Smart Card Alliance/CTST Conference

Smart Cards Advance in IT Security, Federated Identity: Highlights From Smart Card Alliance/CTST Conference

PRINCETON JUNCTION, N.J., May 19, 2008–The number of U.S. employees using smart card technology to access computers and networks at work continues to grow as enterprises look for better ways to protect information, according to presenters at the joint Smart Card Alliance annual meeting and CTST conference last week. Compounding this growth is the rise of federated identity networks in the pharmaceutical, aerospace and defense, and government sectors.


The pharmaceutical industry is moving rapidly to use digital identification and signatures, and the companies involved are “mostly using smart cards or USB tokens,” said Chris Vietor, program director for the SAFE-BioPharma Association. The organization’s membership is a who’s who of the industry, including Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Proctor & Gamble and many other household names. SAFE-BioPharma acts as a trust broker, bridging trust networks between the organization’s members and providing an implementation framework that gives digital signatures the same legal stature as wet ones. “Our vision is to be totally electronic by 2012,” Vietor said.

The most popular application is electronic lab notebooks. Researchers are required to have a witness sign and date records for every experiment they do; replacing these wet signatures is a big time saver. Vietor announced the association has a new vendor certification program that should be of interest to smart card device manufacturers.

Aerospace, Defense and Government

The aerospace and defense industry, working with the UK Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Department of Defense, has a similar global initiative called the Transglobal Secure Collaboration Program (TSCP). It aims to provide a trust network for federated identities and secure information exchange between governments and defense contractors worldwide. This will ultimately impact some 300,000 companies in the global supply chain, according to Iana Bohmer, director, Identity Management Solutions for Northrop Grumman.

The Boeing Co. uses smart card credentials for medium or higher assurance identity authentication within the TSCP framework, according to Carolyn Loew, secure badge product lead for Boeing. Boeing was one of the first large corporations to issue smart cards to all of its employees, and has issued 160,600 “SecureBadges” for both proximity physical access control and strong authentication for desktop and network access. The company is starting to look at a next generation card that is FIPS 201 compliant, she said.

More information about the Smart Card Alliance can be found at

About the Smart Card Alliance

The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to stimulate the understanding, adoption, use and widespread application of smart card technology.

Through specific projects such as education programs, market research, advocacy, industry relations and open forums, the Alliance keeps its members connected to industry leaders and innovative thought. The Alliance is the single industry voice for smart cards, leading industry discussion on the impact and value of smart cards in the U.S. and Latin America. For more information please visit