Belgian government begins Java card trials

Belgian government begins Java card trials

The Belgian government has begun a six-month pilot of a project that aims to provide every citizen over 12-years old with a multi-application personal ID card based on Java card technology.

The EID (Electronische Identiteitskaart or Electronic Identity Card) is the largest project of Sun Microsystems Java technology-enabled national ID cards in Europe. Last week marked the start of the pilot phase, with tens of thousands of cards being distributed among the inhabitants of eleven cities spread over Belgium. If the experience is positive, the Belgian government expects to distribute over 10 million Electronic Identity Cards.

The credit-card sized cards will deliver the same official functions as the traditional identity card - name, photo, date of birth – and will come equipped with a Java chip for electronic digital signature applications and the possible future addition of supplementary functions such as banking and payments.

Jan Deprest, president of Fedict, the Federal ICT department says the cards will provide secure online access to e-government for all Belgian citizens. "The EID project may also allow future private applications to be accessed via the card, such as payment systems or reservations for cultural events," he adds.

Elie Simon , VP Emea, Sun Microsystems believes the Belgian government is setting a new standard in ID cards. "Java card technology allows services and applications to be dynamically modified as the user's needs change, without incurring additional costs of replacing cards or distributing additional means of access," says Simon. "This solution will allow the Belgian people a level of mobility with security not previously possible, as well as allowing the Belgian government to adapt to future needs in the years to come."

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