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US government department, the General Services Administration (GSA), has joined GlobalPlatform, the cross industry smart card group formed to facilitate swift implementation of multiple application smart card services by advancing the development of an international standardized infrastructure.

GSA has played an active role in supporting smart card programs within the U.S. government. Last year, the GSA issued multiple application smart cards to most of their Washington, D.C. area-based employees. At the Willow Wood building in Fairfax Virginia, employees can use multi application cards for purchasing, travel, building access, access to computer systems, long distance phone use, digital signatures for e-mails, as well as for direct boarding of airline flights.

“The U.S. government has already discovered the many benefits of multiple application smart card programs, which allow for increased efficiency and cost savings at many levels,” said Bill Holcombe, director of electronic business technologies at the GSA. “The activities of GlobalPlatform nicely align with our objectives to leverage commercially available technology and support standardization between public and private sector interests.”

“As the organizer of one of the most advanced multiple application smart card programs in the world, we are excited to have the GSA participate in the development of open standards,” said Steve Brown, chairman of GlobalPlatform. “We view the US government to be a trendsetter and top influencer in future smart card programs in the U.S. market.”

Currently, U.S. government agencies including the Navy and Department of Defense are developing smart card programs. The defense agencies are concentrating on implementing public key infrastructure (PKI) on military identification cards to provide for secure access to computer networks. PKI uses sophisticated keys to encrypt and decrypt data sent over public and private networks.

GSA is the third government-affiliated organization to join GlobalPlatform. The National Media Development Corporation of Japan and TTA of South Korea were part of the original group that established GlobalPlatform in October 1999.

GSA is responsible for negotiating contracts for goods and services bought from the private sector for the U.S. Federal Government. Established in 1949, GSA provides services for Federal employees covering security, supplies, tools, computers, and telephones. In addition, GSA provides travel and transportation services, manages the Federal motor vehicle fleet, oversees telecommuting centers and Federal child care centers, preserves historic buildings, and develops, advocates, and evaluates government wide policy.

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.

The Open Platform card and terminal specifications are the first open standards adopted by GlobalPlatform and will provide a solid foundation from which the organization will define the future of multiple application smart cards.

More information on GlobalPlatform can be obtained from

For further information, please contact:

Laura White at Sinclair Mason
Tel: +44 207 7470 8737 Fax: +44 207 470 8738

Deborah Lightfoot at Sinclair Mason
Tel: +44 113 237 0777 Fax: +44 113 237 0888

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