G&D to supply Macau's new contactless ID cards

Source: Gieseck & Devrient

The government of the Macau Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China has chosen Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) to manufacture and deliver its new generation of multifunctional smart ID cards, which are to be purely contactless.

As prime contractor, the Munich-based technology company is assuming responsibility for all aspects of project management, as well as developing the smartcard applications and modifying the existing infrastructure to accommodate the new technology. This will make the Macau government the first public body in the world to make the switch straight from a contact-based to a contactless card system. The new ID card is expected to be introduced from October of this year.

"Macau's decision to introduce purely contactless smart ID cards sees it once again assuming a pioneering role in the areas of cutting-edge technology and public services. Not only does the card offer the ultimate in security and comfort, but faster data transfer rates when reading the card will help speed up processing of the large number of people travelling between Macau, Hong Kong, and China," stresses Hans Wolfgang Kunz, Head of the Government Solutions business unit at G&D.

The security of the contactless data transfer is to be assured according to the PACE (Password Authenticated Connection Establishment) security protocol developed by Germany's Federal Office for Information Security (BSI). This protocol was first applied to the new German ID card introduced in 2010 and will become mandatory for all newly issued EU passports from December 2014 at the latest. The PACE process helps to establish a highly secure connection between the contactless chip in the ID card and the reader attempting to access it. Data is encrypted before being exchanged, making it impossible for hackers to eavesdrop on the data communication or decrypt it later.

The multifunctional ID card can still be used as conventional ID and offers an array of new security features. Personal data and biometric features such as the ID card holder's photo and fingerprints are stored securely on the chip in digital form.

As well as providing visual and secure electronic proof of identity, the ID card allows citizens to handle dealings with the authorities electronically, saving them time and offering added convenience. Besides, the new Macao national ID card is one of the first ID cards worldwide which technically supports secure electronic signatures with a purely contactless solution.

Alongside the smartcard technology, G&D will be supplying its newest JavaCard operating system, Sm@rtCafé Expert 7.0, one of the most advanced operating system platforms currently available. This means the new ID card is ideally equipped for the future and ready to support additional features such as contactless payment using NFC technology.

The introduction of the contactless smart ID card successfully continues the long, trust-based collaboration enjoyed to date between G&D and the Macau government, to which G&D has now been supplying the first generation of ID cards for 10 years.

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