[WG-P3] New French eID card to tackle identity theft

Bob Pinheiro kantara at bobpinheiro.com
Fri Jul 22 13:31:00 EDT 2011

Regardless of the various issues concerning biometrics and creation of a 
database to collect and store personal information, the article mentions 
another problem.  That problem is that these eID cards, being 
smartcards, will require the use of card readers if users are going to 
use the smartcards for online transactions.  It's understandable that 
issuers of a plastic smartcard for use in the physical world would want 
the same card to be useful in the online world, which leads to the 
problem of outfitting everyone with a card reader.

I understand that some countries issuing eID cards also provide card 
readers to citizens.  But carrying around a card reader so that the 
smartcard can be used from different computers would be a bit 
cumbersome.   Some might argue that a smartphone, which contains a SIM 
card and could allow smartphone users to conduct the same kinds of 
transactions as enabled by a smartcard, might be the preferred form 
factor for online transactions.   That would certainly seem true for 
transactions conducted via smartphone.  But people do use laptop 
computers, and even desktop systems.   For transactions conducted using 
laptop and desktop computers, a USB smartcard seems to me to be the 
preferred device.  [While some laptop/desktop computers may have 
built-in card readers, not all do.  But all have USB ports.]

My point is to question whether it makes sense to use a plastic 
smartcard as the single eID form factor, by requiring people to use card 
readers for online transactions, or whether eIDs should be issued in 
different form factors for physical and online use.  Here in the US we 
have no eIDs, so I'm wondering if others who have more experience in 
this area have an opinion.

Bob Pinheiro

On 7/22/2011 12:47 PM, Shin_Adachi wrote:
> Of your possible interest,
> <http://www.net-security.org/secworld.php?id=11323>
> Have a great weekend!
> Shin

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