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    SMART CARDS IN AUSTRALIA: THE IMPACT OF SMART CARDS ON PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Prepared By

     Tim Noonan

     SoftSpeak Computer Services On Behalf of

     Blind Citizens Australia With Funding from

     The Commonwealth Government's

     'AccessAbility Grants Program' part of

     'Networking the Nation'

    Version 1.0, last updated: April 2000

Copyright ? 2000

    SoftSpeak Computer Services &

    Blind Citizens Australia

    Smart Cards and Accessibility

    TABLE OF CONTENTS 1 INTRODUCTION……….…………………………………………….1 2 WHAT IS A SMART CARD? ...................................................... 2 2.1 Modes of Operation .............................................................. 3 2.2 Smart Card Operating Systems ............................................ 5 2.3 Multi Application Support ...................................................... 5 2.4 Smart Card Uptake Here and Abroad.................................... 6 3 POTENTIAL USES OF SMART CARDS .................................. 10 3.1 Electronic Purses ................................................................ 11

    3.1.1 The "electronic register tape" scenario ............................ 15

    3.1.2 RNIB Electronic Purse Recommendations ...................... 17 3.2 Smart Cards for Online Purchasing/Verification................... 20 3.3 Smart Cards for Mobile E-Commerce ................................. 22 3.4 Smart Cards and Transportation ......................................... 23 3.5 Smart Cards for Security ..................................................... 25 3.6 Selected Smart Card Developments in Australia ................. 26

    3.6.1 Australian Banks ............................................................. 26

    3.6.2 Telstra and Smart Cards ................................................. 27

    3.6.3 Government and Centrelink Developments ..................... 28 4 SMART CARDS AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES .............. 29 4.1 Alternative Ways of Accessing Smart Card Information ....... 30

    4.1.1 Smart Cards and Point-of-Sale Terminals ....................... 31

    4.1.2 Smart cards and mobile phones ..................................... 32

    4.1.3 Smart cards and PCs ...................................................... 32

    4.1.4 Smart cards and Television Set-top-boxes ...................... 33

    4.1.5 Smart Cards for ATMs and Information Kiosks ............... 33 4.2 The European Saturn Project .............................................. 34

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    4.3 PC User Profile Development in Canada ............................ 36 4.4 The Trace Center 'EZ Access' protocol ............................... 37 5 SMART CARDS AND STANDARDISATION ............................ 39 5.1 Emerging Industry Standards .............................................. 39

    5.1.1 Electronic Purse Standards ............................................ 40

    5.1.2 Global Platform ............................................................... 40

    5.1.3 CEC Specification ........................................................... 40 5.2 Australia and Standards ...................................................... 41 5.3 European Union and Standards .......................................... 42

    5.3.1 Card Orientation ............................................................. 42

    5.3.2 Storing User Interface Preferences ................................. 43

    5.3.3 Differentiating smart cards by touch ................................ 43 6 SOME USEFUL REFERENCES AND RESOURCES ............... 44 7 TERMINOLOGY, ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS .......... 47

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    1 INTRODUCTION

    This report explores the increasing use of smart cards and smart card-based systems in Australia and in other countries, with a special focus on how these developments are likely to impact on people with disabilities and the older population.

    At present the area of smart cards is undergoing particularly rapid change and expansion. This report doesn't attempt to be comprehensive or complete, but it does try to offer a balanced and realistic perspective on the field, both now and in the future. The report has been worked on progressively since the second half of 1999, but has undergone many changes due to the endless flux, mergers, takeovers and other industry developments which typify this industry.

    The eventual and widespread up-take of smart cards is no longer in question, but the "how", "what" and "when" issues vary from one country and situation to another. The questions are no longer "why smart cards?" or even "whether smart cards?" but simply "when?". The report is being produced at a time where the smart card industry is intensely complicated and uncertain. Whereas only a year ago, it was commonly thought that the Mondex smart card electronic purse had a major market advantage internationally, this group now appears to be very marginalised as a result of industry-based standardisation efforts by most other smart card manufacturers, other than Mondex. Whereas it was commonly understood that The Big Four (four major Australian banks) had all signed an agreement with Mondex Australia, and would be adopting the Mondex electronic purse system, just last year Westpac announced a collaborative venture with ERG (a Perth-based smart card ticketing company) which would be based around a totally incompatible purse system called Proton, developed by Banksys in Belgium.

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    Already in Australia we have current trials or role-outs of six different and quite incompatible smart card platforms, leading to increased confusion, uncertainty and potential compatibility problems. Although smart cards have been around for over 20 years now, they are still often described as a technology looking for an application. Nevertheless, there are already in excess of 15 Million smart cards in use in Australia alone (counting GSM SIM cards and smart card-based phone cards) and smart cards now make up 18 percent of overall plastic card manufacture internationally.

    For reasons such as these, this report doesn't attempt to do a lot of "crystal ball" gazing, but it does draw together information from an array of commercial and other sources to predict how such technologies could affect us all, and in particular how they could affect people with disabilities.

    The original intent was to produce a brief report strictly focused on disability issues alone, but with the complexity of the technology and the array of differing approaches and applications springing up in relation to smart cards, it was felt that the report should provide a broad-brush review of the area and act as a simple tutorial on the smart card subject.

    The information is current as of first quarter 2000. It includes many accessibility considerations and observations throughout each section, as well as a more detailed section covering specific disability and accessibility topics in greater length. Because of the crossover between different smart card applications and uses, there is a small degree of unavoidable overlap of information in sections of the report.

    2 WHAT IS A SMART CARD?

    A smart card is a plastic card usually with similar dimensions to a standard credit card. Instead of a magnetic stripe, smart cards use an embedded computer chip and memory to store and process information. Depending on the particular smart card product, smart

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    Smart Cards and Accessibility

    cards can hold at least 100 or more times as much data as a mag-stripe card. For example the latest American Express smart Blue cards contain 32 k of rewrite-able memory.

    Although in most cases a smart card is approximately the same size as a credit card, another example of a smart card is a SIM (Subscriber Information Module) used in GSM digital mobile phones. Original SIM cards were credit card sized, but smaller phones now have a mini-sim which isn't much bigger than a thumbnail. Because of the huge up-take of mobile phones, particularly in Australia, Asia and Europe, SIM cards are probably the largest proportion of smart cards in use today, but most still only provide one function, though this is rapidly starting to change.

    Smart cards allow information to be stored on the card rather than on a computer somewhere. This is an added advantage for security and allows encryption techniques to be used in the card. Smartcards are more durable than traditional magnetic stripe cards as the chip cannot be affected by magnetic fields or scratches like the magnetic stripe on existing cards can.

     The term 'Chip Card' is also sometimes used when discussing smart cards. Smart card readers can usually also write to smart cards, but in the literature and this document, for convenience the term 'smart card reader' is used.

    2.1 Modes of Operation

    There are two major interfaces used by smart cards to communicate with smart card readers and terminals - contact and contactless. Contact smart cards have gold or silver electrical contacts at one end, which allow the card to be powered, read from and written to, by smart card terminals. Some newer smart cards are contactless, meaning that they don't need to be inserted into a card reader. Contactless smart cards can usually be operated up to 15 or 20 cm away from the card reader device. With contactless smart cards, the power is provided by the card reader through induction or other

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    electromagnetic means. Thus neither type of smart card requires internal batteries to operate. However battery power is likely to be required in order to have a contactless card which operates more than 20 cm from the card reader device.

    For people with disabilities, contactless and longer-distance contactless smart cards have significant benefits and could provide interesting applications for navigation and identification of landmarks, technical installations etc.

    At present, contact smart cards are considered to be significantly more secure than contactless cards, and they are also somewhat less expensive to manufacture. Some companies have developed contactless smart cards which they believe are very secure, but this technology is relatively young.

    Transport ticketing is a common use of contactless smart cards due to the inconvenience and significantly greater time taken to use contact cards. Contactless cards don't even usually need to be removed from a wallet or handbag, they automatically pay for the ticket as a barrier is walked through.

    A quite recent development, and one which is likely to lead to a major increase in smart card uptake is the increasing availability of dual mode cards which can work in either manner - contact or contactless, offering the perceived safety and convenience of both technologies, depending on the nature of the transaction. Some smart cards may also contain a magnetic stripe, allowing them to be used as a standard credit card/banking card, or as a smart card. The recently released Blue American Express cards in the United States have this design, allowing them to operate as a standard magnetic stripe-based credit card, while also containing a unique electronic certificate, identifying the card holder, as well as validating that the card is not a fake. These cards are hoped to be used extensively for more secure internet purchases. Over time the card will contain additional applications.

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    2.2 Smart Card Operating Systems

    Depending on the brand of card and its architecture, several smart card operating systems now exist. The most common of these are Chipper, Proton, MultOS and Java Card. In trial now, but not in wide usage yet, is Microsoft's Windows for Smart Cards. MultOS, JavaCard and Windows for Smart Cards are generally considered to be the three major emerging multi-application smart card platforms/operating systems.

    The operating system controls how information is stored on and retrieved from the smart card, just as MS DOS or the Microsoft Windows computer operating system controls similar facilities on a PC. Security of data, particularly in multi-application situations is an important aspect of the smart card operating system.

    At present there is a lot of work going into developing reliable and flexible operating systems for smart card applications, and with Microsoft's recent entry into this area, the competition is becoming even greater. Companies don't want to roll out a huge number of cards based on one platform/operating system, only to find that it has little support in one or two years time.

    American Express's new smart Blue Cards are reported to have been issued in both JavaCard and MultOS versions, but most are based on MultOS. There has been some talk in the industry about MultOS being sold to Microsoft, which would give Microsoft an even greater impact on the smart card operating system arena, particularly in view of the time Microsoft has taken to get its product to market.

    2.3 Multi Application Support

    One reason why smart cards have taken a long time to get established internationally is that, until quite recently, they were unable to run multiple applications (programs) safely and easily on a single card.

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    One benefit of modern smart cards is their ability to replace common functions of several magnetic stripe cards on a single smart card. For example, a single smart card could potentially contain one or more credit cards, an electronic purse, a loyalty program, an electronic signature, act as a social security benefits card, act as a library card, and so on. This is discussed further in the following section.

    For security purposes, a person's smart card might also contain a digital representation of his or her written signature, or an electronic signature (possibly issued by the Government), finger or thumb print information as well as a PIN.

    At present, most smart cards only contain one or two applications, but depending on the operating system, and cooperation between vendors and service providers, this is beginning to change. Increases in the amount of rewrite-able memory that can be built into smart cards are now making multi-application cards more viable and flexible.

    Another commercial barrier to multi-application cards is card branding rights. Banks and credit card companies want to be associated with their smart card, for this reason competing

    applications are less likely to be stored on a card branded by a rival vendor.

    Until the issue of multiple applications on a single card is in widespread use, it will be very difficult indeed to gain wide user-acceptance of smart card technologies.

    2.4 Smart Card Uptake Here and Abroad

    Although there is a huge push from manufacturers and companies in the smart card industry, there is less certainty or excitement in the minds of potential users. To a large degree smart cards are still a technology searching for an application. Many European countries may be the exception here, but North America, Australia and even

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    Hong Kong seem to be resistant to the touted benefits of the technologies, particularly for financial applications. For new technologies to be taken up, they need to be clearly superior to the existing ways of doing things, and have minimal disadvantages over the status quo.

    As is also the case in the US, Australia is cautious and comparatively slow in widespread uptake of smart card technology. Although Australia is renowned for its uptake of new technologies, we seem to have the knack of knowing which technologies to 'back', but even more importantly, when. For example, we were international leaders in the uptake of fax machines, mobile phones and the internet, but haven't rushed into fad technologies which didn't survive.

    Widespread adoption of smart card technologies isn't just a financial commitment, it is also a technology which will have profound impacts on the economy and Australia's involvement in the community and economy. It will change the whole culture underpinning the cash economy, something which Australians value. North America and Australia are much bigger users of creditcard services than are Europe, or Asia, and we also both have well-developed telecommunications systems and mag-stripe

    infrastructures (both ATM and EFTPOS) to support the existing huge base of mag-stripe cards in use. There is little immediate incentive for either the banking system, or the consumer, to change. From the banking perspective, we have an acceptably (manageable) level of creditcard fraud, it would be very expensive to roll out smart cards and readers for venders and banks, and the current system offers the Government, banks and credit card issuers a "cut" of every electronic transaction which occurs.

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