And another thing...

Lesson on smart cards

The smart-card industry rolled into the House Rayburn Building earlier this month hoping to educate and advise lawmakers' staff on why their technology is necessary and beneficial.

And to judge from the questions asked and the attention paid by staff members, they did pretty well. Or maybe it was just the free lunch that kept everybody around.

The dog-and-pony show, sponsored by Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), featured representatives from two vendors and the General Services Administration. Topics included federal priorities such as Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12, the Transportation Worker Identification Credential and the Real ID Act. Questions touched on the State Department's People Access Security Service and the Homeland Security Department's Register Traveler programs, and technical specs.

David Temoshok, director of identity policy management in GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy, described HSPD-12 and the status of agency progress. 'We will issue cards to 2 million users in the next 23 months,' Temoshok said, adding that the cards will also go to first responders, health care and state and local governments.

Patrick Hearn, director of government identification markets for Oberthur Card Systems of Rancho Dominguez, Calif., gave a quick discussion about what smart cards are, how they work and why they are different from cards that use radio frequency identification tags.

Roy Bie, senior vice president and general manager for advanced optical technologies for JDSU of Milpitas, Calif., pointed out that, 'Any single technology will fail, so we subscribe to the multilayer approach.' All rather enlightening. And lunch was pretty good, too.

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