U.S. emergency response officials (EROs) need to be able to identify themselves everyday and in an emergency. Events such as the September 11th attacks and Hurricane Katrina have shown that it is essential that these credentials be secure, electronically verifiable, and trusted across multiple jurisdictions. Smart card identity credentials based on Federal Information Processing Standard 201 (FIPS 201) meet these requirements, and take advantage of the enhanced ID infrastructure federal, state and commercial organizations have already put in place, the Smart Card Alliance Identity Council said in a white paper released today.

The white paper, Emergency Response Official Credentials: An Approach to Attain Trust in Credentials across Multiple Jurisdictions for Disaster Response and Recovery, identifies best practices and defines use cases for ERO credentials based on the FIPS 201 standard, and outlines how these credentials can meet identity goals of trust, privacy, interoperability, and usability. It also describes recent demonstrations and pilots of the First Responder Authentication Credential (FRAC) that have involved emergency response officials in the National Capital Region, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Texas, Illinois, Florida and Colorado. The white paper is available to download on the Smart Card Alliance Web site. 

“FIPS 201 smart card-based credentials, already mandated and being implemented across U.S. federal government organizations, provide a fast, secure electronic identity validation process and work in all environmental conditions – even when power or communication capabilities are not available,” said Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance. “This white paper outlines how the emergency response community can leverage this secure identity platform and apply added first responder attributes to make trusted credentials part of the system. This white paper is an ideal resource for all organizations in the emergency response community, especially those that are now reviewing their identity, access, and credentialing requirements.”

The white paper was developed by the Smart Card Alliance Identity Council and Physical Access Council. The Identity and Physical Access Council members that contributed to this report include: BearingPoint, CardLogix, Cogent Systems, CoreStreet, Diebold Incorporated, EDS, Fargo Electronics, Gemalto, HID Global, Hirsch Electronics IDmachines, IDTP, IQ Devices, Northrop Grumman, Oberthur, Probaris, Sagem Morpho, Thales e-Security, Tyco International and the U.S. Department of State.

Government smart card identity and security initiatives will be explored further at the 7th Annual Smart Cards in Government Conference, held October 22 – 24, 2008 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in downtown Washington, D.C. Register for the conference by visiting the Smart Cards in Government Web site.

About the Smart Card Alliance

The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to stimulate the understanding, adoption, use and widespread application of smart card technology. 

Through specific projects such as education programs, market research, advocacy, industry relations and open forums, the Alliance keeps its members connected to industry leaders and innovative thought. The Alliance is the single industry voice for smart cards, leading industry discussion on the impact and value of smart cards in the U.S. and Latin America. For more information please visit http://www.smartcardalliance.org.