dual chip electronic ID cards in Asia Pacific

ZDNet reported that Asian-Pacific governments plan to implement two chips electronic identification cards for its citizens. Technology of 2 chip cards has been known for few years. Basically a card is equipped with two computer chips holding diferent sets of data and using separate access interface. For example a chip holding less secure data such identification number for public transportation uses radio frequency contactless interface and requires no PIN to be entered while accessing data. Another chip holds personal and biometric data which is encrypted; contact pad card reader is required to access the data which is often protected by PIN aside from built in encryption. This way dual chip card is able to offer versatility and security at once. Sounds like a perfect solution? Unfortunaltelly no, at least not yet. The contact interface of the card consits of metal pads which conduct electricity and therefore transfer the data. Metal conductors wear with every day use, not even reading the card but rubbing it when removed from wallet or purse. In result the cards are guaranteed to work for around 5 years which is less than most governments wants them to be valid for. One of the examples was Germany where national e-ID card was launched with RF only and made valid for 10 years. On the other hand some countries like Sweden decided to go with 2-chip cards. The document has been available since 2005, it’s valid for 5 years and isn’t mandatory for the residents. Rather high cost of 42 Euros might certainly be a reason against getting one. The card is valid mean of identification in Sweden and allows to travel withing the Schengen treaty zone but to other countries where regular passport is required.

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