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Open eCard releases open source eID middleware


Open eCard has released the sources of the ISO/IEC 24727-based Open eCard app, as an alternative to proprietary eID middleware solutions.

“In order to use national eID cards and electronic health cards on the internet, a corresponding software application running on the computer system of each citizen is required,” the company said in an announcement on its website. “Interoperability across borders is achieved by supporting the international standard ISO/IEC 24727.”

The initialization phase of the project has been completed and the Open eCard App, was released as open source under the GNU General Public License version 3. The sources of this software, which the company says runs on different desktop computer platforms as well as Android smartphones, are now available for download.

This app is browser-independent and runs on the computer of the citizen. It can be activated via a localhost-link or browser extensions to support legacy applications. As an example, the group says the German eID card can now be used without any proprietary software.

This is an interesting open-source development as eID systems are being deployed widely today and are being increasingly relied upon for access to services and programs offered by governments. In addition, the group says its middleware lays the basis for true “citizen apps,” in which interested citizens can actively participate.

“You do not have to be a computer scientist or security expert to make valuable contributions,” Prof. Dr. Thomas Wieland, an expert in identity management from Coburg University and a member of the Open eCard team said. “Anyone can contribute his or her ideas and proposals.”

Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, the South African Department of Home Affairs plans to issue citizens with new biometric smart ID cards as soon as this year.

South Africa is not alone in deploying an eID system. The country is joining a growing list of countries with electronic identity card programs in place. As convenient travel, along with the constant shipment of goods between continents, many governments have maintained that more reliable identification and authentication methods are required and have turned to electronic identity programs. A recent Biometric Research Note indicates that the market for eID cards is expected to reach US$5.2 billion by 2015.

In India, Aadhaar numbers are now required for those looking to register property, or a marriage in New Delhi and it’s anticipated the number of services requiring a UID number will increase. 

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