Evolving Trends in Government ID: Multi-Tasking Becomes The Norm

Over the years, there has been an increasing demand for implementing secure government identification programs around the world, and this has created a new generation of advanced electronic Government ID credentials for e-visas, national ID cards, healthcare 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.

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.

If you are attending CARTES this week at in Las Vegas, stop our booth #405 to learn more about these programs that are currently using HID Global technology, and check out our government ID booth demonstrations. I will also be giving a talk at the conference on Wednesday, March 7th at 11:30 a.m. on the evolution of smart cards to powerful multi-technology ID credentials for government-to-citizen ID programs. It would be great for you to attend and join the discussion.