Smart Cards Few countries in the world are as familiar with the importance of good security as Israel. The glacial pace of peace talks and wars with its Arab neighbors have made Israel arguably the most security-conscious country in the world.The Israeli government has requested bids on a proposal to create a national identification card using smart-card technology. The IDs will feature built-in chips and memory to store and process data, and public-key infrastructure technology to secure and authenticate the identity of cardholders.In addition to storing the name, address and birth date, the Israeli smart IDs will also contain biometric identifiers such as digital scans of the palm, finger or face, and a digital photograph.The government is also implementing a smart-card ID system at the Erez checkpoint between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Set to go live in February 2004, the system will oversee the entrance and exit of around 120,000 Palestinian workers from Gaza to Israel each day, and it uses both hand and facial-recognition biometrics, says David Oren, project division executive at EDS Israel.Israel is one of only a handful of countries to implement a national ID using smart-card tech-nology. Countries including Belgium, France and Italy have or are planning to roll out national smart-card IDs, and Great Britain is doing a trial of national IDs that use the technology.Key to making the technology work in Israel will be ensuring the integrity of the enrollment program, during which participants prove their identity and provide biometric data to be stored on the card.The high-tech ID cards in Gaza and for Israeli citizens will certainly be a vast improvement over manual identification techniques that rely on humans. But they will not guarantee security, as recent events in Israel show. Just weeks before the scheduled deployment of high-tech smart-card IDs at the Erez checkpoint, a decidedly low-tech suicide bomb attack there killed four soldiers and prompted the Israeli government to restrict travel between Israel and Gaza.