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Email: swilson@lockstep.com.au

Smartcards Summit keynote presentation

12/6/07: Keynote address on smartcards as critical infrastructure is now available.

On June 5, Stephen addressed the opening session of the Australian Smartcards Summit (see http://www.acevents.com.au/cards2007).


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, literally keeping them safe in peoples’ wallets and away from databases and call-centres
  • they can run private off-line security checks inside the chip, to catch fraud without having to aggregate and data-mine all innocent transactions
  • they can log users onto secure websites, protecting them against bogus cyber crime sites
  • they can check the security master codes on signed e-mails, to protect consumers from the scourges of phishing and spam, which arguably represent the most serious threats to privacy today.

So there is a lot more to smartcards than meets the eye, much more than having a little spare memory for consumers to use as a “micro-iPod”. 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.

In this presentation, I am going to review the parlous state of security and privacy online, and contrast that with the importance of the information economy. I’m going to characterise the sorts of measures we need to put in place to protect the community in the new economy. It turns out that 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.