Lockstep

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Keynote speech: Smartcards as Critical Infrastructure

An annotated copy of the slides Stephen presented in his keynote address to the Australian Smartcards Summit, 6 June 2007.

Summary

For all the smartcard activity in Australia, we’re really only just scratching the surface of this technology’s potential. There is an immense untapped vein of privacy and safety capabilities in today’s smartcard platforms. For instance:

  • smartcards decentralise customer identities, keeping them away from databases and call-centres
  • they can run private security checks, to catch fraud without having to data-mine all innocent transactions
  • they can log users onto secure websites, protecting them against bogus cyber crime sites
  • they can check master codes in secure e-mail, to protect consumers from phishing and spam.

So there is a lot more to smartcards than meets the eye, but sadly none of these capabilities as yet are on the agenda for smartcard projects in Australia. And so a huge opportunity for our community’s privacy and safety online goes begging.

This presentation reviews the parlous state of security and privacy online, and contrasts that with the importance of the information economy. It characterises the sorts of measures we need to put in place to protect the community in the new economy. Smartcards offer the only effective national approach.

But we’re going to have to do more to make best use of smartcards. We’re going to have to treat them as national infrastructure.