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   Byte Archive April 1998 Smartcards in Action

   Financial:   Global  Transactions

   Visa  has  more  than  70  chip-card  programs under way and
   claims 21 million chip-cards have  been  issued.  MasterCard
   International owns 51 percent of Mondex, whose technology is
   currently used  in  21  implementations  around  the  world.
   Mondex claims to have deployed in excess of
   one million reloadable cards through the end  of  last  year
   and projects 5 million by the end of 1998.

   Military: Medical Identification

   The   U.S.   Department   of   Defense  is  working  on  the
   Multi-Technology Automated Reader Card (MARC). This involves
   a  smartcard  with several media in addition to the embedded
   chip, including bar code, magnetic  stripe,  embossed  data,
   printed  information, and an integrated circuit. The goal of
   using MARC is to improve a military commander's  ability  to
   access information such as medical treatment data, readiness
   status, immunization records, and next of kin.

   The primary software developer  and  system  integrator  for
   MARC   is   U.S.-based   3-G   International  (3GI).  In  an
   encouraging development for  American  smartcard  developers
   seeking  to  enter  overseas  markets,  3GI  is to deliver a
   smartcard-based medical documentation  system  to  the  U.K.
   Ministry  of  Defense.  The system will employ smartcards to
   replace the existing paper records of  patient  medical  and
   treatment information during medical encounters. Medics will
   record treatment  information  onto  a  soldier's  smartcard
   electronically,   enabling   the   soldier   to  carry  this
   information  to  the  next  treatment   location   so   that
   subsequent  medical  decisions can be made based on the most
   current data. Transportation: Contact Free

   You read most smartcards by placing them in contact  with  a
   reader. You read a contact free card with RF signals when in
   proximity of a reader. There are also dual-mode cards,  such
   as  the  Transcarte, developed by Bull. The cards, which are
   being used by the  urban  transport  management  company  of
   Valenciennes,  France, operate in contact-free mode to speed
   up the process of getting onto the bus. Claimed  transaction
   speed with this card is approximately one-tenth of a second,
   compared to the transaction speed of using paper tickets  or
   contact  cards,  which  ranges between half a second and one
   second. A  contact  mode  is  also  provided,  which  allows
   personalized  management  of user accounts. For example, you
   could "charge" the card  for  access  to  certain  municipal
   services such as canteens, libraries, and swimming pools.

   Government: Biometrics

   The  British  government is planning to deploy smartcards to
   allow people to pay taxes, including  income  tax,  national
   insurance,  and local taxes, as well as apply for passports,
   state benefits, and  forms  of  government  welfare.  Citing
   "huge  potential  savings"  as  the  primary  motive for the
   introduction of the smartcard, the minister responsible  has
   acknowledged  that  the  civil liberties lobby will probably
   oppose any card  whose  possession  is  mandatory.  However,
   while  plans  call  for use of the card to be voluntary, the
   minister has admitted that people could find it difficult to
   operate  in  the future without such a smartcard. Initially,
   the U.K. citizen smartcard  will  rely  on  traditional  PIN
   protection  systems to allow a person to identify himself to
   the government computer systems. In  the  longer  term,  and
   certainly  within  the next five years, the plan is to allow
   an individual to use  a  fingerprint  or  similar  biometric
   system for positive identification.

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   (The above is exracted from Byte magazine.)