Sun and EDS unite on smart cards for Canadian government

Sun Microsystems Canada will be partnering with EDS Canada to deliver smart card solutions to government organisations.

Sun Microsystems Canada will partner with EDS Canada to deliver smart card solutions to government organisations.

Smart cards are security devices about the same size as a credit card with an embedded microchip that stores data. They can be used for authentication purposes to establish the identity of an individual, providing them with secure access to certain areas and applications.

Sun and EDS will be marketing a "starter bundle" to all levels of Canadian government - federal, provincial and municipal - that will include Sun’s Sun Fire 280R server running on the Solaris platform, the Sun One Directory Server, the Sun One Identity Server, the Sun One Web Server, 100 smart cards and 100 readers.

EDS’ role will be to assist users with implementation of smart card solutions in conjunction with Sun.

Based on Java Card Technology, the Java specifications that enable Java to run on devices with limited memory, these smart cards can store multiple applications - up to 512KB -from different suppliers.

"Within one organisation you can have an application put on the chip from human resources and from your financial group," explained Norman Lecouvie, director of business development for the public sector at Sun.

"Each of these sections or divisions can be responsible for managing the membership and access control of their users."

He said that federal government agencies have shown interest in implementing smart cards for things such as physical and mobility access as some federal employees need different cards to gain access to different buildings even though they are run by the same department.

Lecouvie added they have show interest using smart cards for logical access which enables them to gain access into different applications.

Meanwhile, municipal governments have expressed an interest in issuing smart cards to holders of public transit passes and for tourism purposes. Visitors could purchase a smart card that holds their access to transit, museums and landmarks.

While smart cards have been widely deployed in Asia, Canada is still in the early phases of adoption.

Lecouvie said the biggest challenge Sun and EDS faced was talking to organisations about privacy.

Even so, Keenan was unconvinced Sun and EDS’ push into the Canadian market would be a success.


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