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Multiple application smart card organization delivers on the promise of global technology specifications.

Las Vegas, 16 May 2001 -- GlobalPlatform announces changes to the Open Platform specifications that provide organizations issuing multiple application cards with enhanced flexibility, improved security, and greater ubiquity. These changes are offered in the Open Platform Card Specification version 2.1 (see summary of functionality attached to this release), available to the public for royalty-free licensing from 4 June 2001. This major milestone for GlobalPlatform establishes the first cross-industry specification intended to standardize the technology infrastructure for multiple application smart cards across operating systems.

Open Platform version 2.1 is the culmination of a more than a year’s effort by GlobalPlatform to define new functional requirements and technical specifications. This initiative included the participation of approximately twenty Member organizations and incorporates new technology contributed by six Members. It is the first enhancement to the Open Platform Card Specification since version 2.0 was released in April 1999.

Many of the changes included in version 2.1 are the result of experience gleaned from smart card issuing organizations wanting to streamline and expedite critical processes such as application loading, installation and personalization. Experiences from high-volume installations in the financial services and telecommunications industries stress the need to significantly simplify personalization systems and service bureau tasks, thereby improving card and application issuance throughput. These critical control-processes are considered core competencies of the Open Platform Card Specifications.

Technology contributions were received from Microsoft, Proton World and Visa International, among others. These contributions reflect best practices learned from implementation experience or the ability to extend Open Platform into new environments. For example, a contribution from Proton World enables ownership of an application installed by one party to be transferred to a second party. Likewise, a new provision submitted by Visa streamlines personalization into a standardized formula that dramatically reduces costs to key smart card stakeholders.

Marc Kekicheff, Technical Director of GlobalPlatform says, "Open Platform version 2.1 represents a significant collaboration of the best and brightest in the multiple application smart card industry. Version 2.1 contains the functionality and features that card and application issuers have requested to make issuance processes more effective. When considering the 3500-plus global licensees and worldwide momentum in Open Platform implementations, we expect the 'drumbeat of demands' to only quicken. I feel more certain than ever that Open Platform is the right solution to control and manage multiple-application smart card programs."

"We are beginning to deliver on the promise we made to the smart card industry eighteen months ago when GlobalPlatform was formed," says Steve Brown, Chair of the GlobalPlatform Board of Directors. "Version 2.1 of the Card Specification is a critical component in GlobalPlatform's complete technology vision, which includes cards, devices and enabling systems. The GlobalPlatform Board is equally encouraged by the progress being made in our other technical Committees and expects to continue to deliver greater standardization for the benefit of the smart card industry."

GlobalPlatform has instituted a specification management process, in which a major release of each specification is completed every eighteen-to-twenty-four months. Minor releases are published mid-cycle on an as-needed basis. The publication cycle is designed to ensure stability yet allow flexibility as business demands.

For more media information, please contact Laura White or James Hedges at Sinclair Mason: Tel: +44 20 7470 8737 or Fax: +44 20 7470 8738
E-mail: or

GlobalPlatform is the only cross-industry forum focused on the development, management and promotion of specifications for multiple application smart cards, smart card applications, and enabling devices. With support from its global member organizations, GlobalPlatform promotes a standard framework facilitating the implementation of smart card programs in any industry around the world. GlobalPlatform allows flexibility in the choice of technologies and vendors through an emphasis on open standards for cards, terminals and support infrastructure.


Some of the new functionality of version 2.1 of Open Platform providing utility to the smart card industry include:

1. Personalization -- Generically, personalization is the process during which a smart card is modified to contain the information for one person. The new provision of version 2.1 establishes a common way of defining personalization for everyone in the smart card industry to adopt. It provides a consistent process for all applications, all cards, and all environments (pre-issuance or post-issuance). This feature reduces the impact of any personalization process change for any application or any card, resulting in less time and cost for issuers, personalization bureaus, application loaders and card vendors. The major contributor of this feature was Visa International.

2. Restructured Card Manager -- This gives issuers the ability to select the security policy and communication protocol for each card. The separation of the basic on-card application code management and the security policy choices reveals a powerful architecture that enables issuers to customize their cards according to their own business and security requirements. The major contributor for this feature was Proton World.

3. Windows® API -- an API which integrates Open Platform with the Windows® Powered Smart Card™ operating system. This provision expands the use of Open Platform to the Windows environment. The major contributor of this feature was Microsoft.

4. Expedited Personalization -- the ability to install, load and personalize multiple applications in one single secure communications session. The on-card Open Platform support for loading code existing in Open Platform 2.0 is extended to loading personalization data on behalf of applications, therefore reducing application code complexity and size. Since each communication session for loading information on the card must be cryptographically secured, one single session for all load and personalization functions reduces the number of cryptographic computations both on-card and off-card. Efficiency is increased for issuers, personalization bureaus, application loaders, application developers, and card vendors. The major contributor for this feature was Visa International.

5. Common Framework -- a common identification process previously completed in collaboration with MAOSCO to enable smart card systems to identify the on-card technology before completing the platform-specific command. This solution will help to streamline critical processes in smart card lifecycle management including personalization and post-issuance maintenance. This eliminates another barrier to global, cross industry adoption and implementation of smart card technology.

6. Extradition -- a mechanism that allows the dynamic on-card re-allocation of applications to different or new business partners. Applications can be loaded and installed under the authority of one entity and then transferred to another entity at a later stage. This allows, for example, a trusted party such as a service bureau, to load, install and personalize several applications on the card pre-issue, and then re-distribute the applications to their business owners later. Another feature is the ability to install multiple applications on the card from the same generic application code (e.g. loyalty, access control) and then distribute them to different separate business entities later. The major contributor for this feature was Proton World.

7. Compatibility -- backward compatibility with the previous version, Open Platform 2.0. Applications developed for release 2.0 or 2.0.1 of the Open Platform Card Specification will also run on cards utilizing release 2.1. This ensures cost savings in development, as Application Developers do not need to reprogram existing applications for new cards.

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