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GlobalPlatform & NICSS Collaborate to Introduce PKI Functionality to Smart Card Standards

15 November 2005: GlobalPlatform and Next Generation IC Card System Study Group (NICSS) have developed a standardized smart card specification that incorporates Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) functionality. The new capabilities, which form part of GlobalPlatform’s latest Card Specification – v2.2, will support global identity smart card implementations.

GlobalPlatform, the global leader in smart card infrastructure development and deployment, and NICSS, a Japanese organization responsible for developing multiple application smart cards for public sector activity, built a close working partnership to ensure the business and technical market requirements were realized to support government and identity programs.

The three year technical collaboration is part of GlobalPlatform’s recently completed Card Specification v2.2, with PKI functionality central to meeting a growing market demand for standardized identity solutions. Card issuers creating security ID programs will be most interested in the additional functionality offered by the new specification.

Marc Kekicheff, GlobalPlatform Technical Director, comments: “The development of a standardized card specification incorporating PKI not only delivers the trust structure required to achieve electronic business communication synergy, but also provides the potential for governments and/or the private sector to offer citizens multiple services via one identity card.

“This functionality allows card issuers to create a dynamic post-issuance environment open to an unlimited number of applications and service providers, while still relying on the same management infrastructure. Card issuers can also propose additional trust structures and construct a platform that supports further security requirements for future applications.

“Card Specification v2.2 is a great achievement for GlobalPlatform, and would not have been possible without intellectual contributions from our industry partners such as NICSS. In respect to the creation of the PKI capabilities, NICSS’ sound market experience and technical understanding was an invaluable contribution. We look forward to this specification’s integration into smart card implementations globally over coming years.”

Eikazu Niwano, Convener of GlobalPlatform/ NICSS Collaboration Expert Group and NICSS Fellow, comments: “Card Specification v2.2 will catalyze the global realization of interoperable smart cards beyond the card community, and provide noticeable benefits to end-users. For instance, every citizen who has an electronic identity card will be able to download applications and use smart card services, irrespective of their geographical location.”

Professor Ohyama, Chairman of NICSS, adds: “As NICSS has played a part in the implementation of many government smart card programs within the Japanese marketplace, we were pleased to be intrinsically involved in the development of this important specification. With the experience and knowledge that we were collectively able to offer, we are confident that the technical specification is realistic in meeting industry demands and will offer the flexibility to deliver future requirements.

“The concept of this specification has already been accepted by the European Union, USA and Asia through initiatives implemented by NICSS’ many global partners, including the Global Collaboration Forum and the Asia IC Card Forum. We believe GlobalPlatform Card Specification v2.2 will come to be recognized as the identification industry smart card standard.”

Bob Beer, GlobalPlatform Chair, concludes: “The new specification demonstrates the pioneering accomplishments of GlobalPlatform; continually evolving to achieve a universal smart card technology that will create a secure multi-application environment. With numerous implementations based on GlobalPlatform standards deployed globally, businesses are beginning to realize the full potential smart cards offer - delivering their products and services in the most efficient and effective manner while offering customers the combination of services they desire.”

Another element of this latest GlobalPlatform Card Specification v2.2, as requested by the mobile telecoms industry, is further advancements in secure communication for over-the-air (OTA) updates; providing standards for downloading applications and management commands to smart cards. The full specification will be accessible to the market in early 2006. All GlobalPlatform Specifications are available royalty-free at


For further media information, please contact Sarah Bayne or Shona Clarke at Harrison Cowley on + 44 (0) 870 606 0960 or email

Notes to Editors:
GlobalPlatform Driven by over 50 cross-industry member organizations, GlobalPlatform is the leading, international association, focused on establishing, maintaining and driving the adoption of standards to enable an open and interoperable infrastructure for smart cards, devices and systems that simplifies and accelerates development, deployment and management of applications across industries.

These specifications are known as the standard for smart card infrastructure, thanks to their balance of technical superiority and business justification.

GlobalPlatform specifications are available royalty-free and have been adopted in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia by many public and private bodies. Current estimates for 2005 predict the number of GlobalPlatform smart cards in circulation exceeds 70 million and an additional 450 million GSM cards utilize GlobalPlatform technology for Over-The-Air application downloads.

GlobalPlatform is an independent, not-for-profit organization and its strategy is defined and prioritized by a Board of Directors. GlobalPlatform is currently chaired by Chairman Robert E. Beer, Vice President Business Development, Datacard Group.

The Next Generation IC Card System Study group (NICSS), taking notice of IC card, was established in Dec 1998 under the auspices of no less than 17 private companies. As a voluntary group, with the objective of studying the ways of how to protect the citizens’ rights, it now has more than 90 entities as members, and many ministries participants as observer members.

This group has been engaged in activities with a focus on promoting the use of IC cards, protecting the citizens’ rights for the basic resident registration, which are distributed by the local autonomous organization to its residents from 2003.

NICSS became a non-profit organization in July 2004.

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