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The First E-Business Application to Use the European Citizen Card

At this year's CeBIT, Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) and Wirecard Bank AG were showcasing the first e-business application that utilizes the electronic ID card, which several European Union member states are planning to introduce.

To use the application, consumers have to register with Wirecard Bank's internet payment service, Wirecard, and install special software and a simple contactless card reader on their home PCs. This new application allows banks and consumers to authenticate one another using an official personal identity document and a personal identification number (PIN) for the first time ever.

Giesecke & Devrient's new launch represents the first implementation of the standards for microchip-equipped European Citizen Cards along with the middleware to support commercial applications. "This is a major milestone for e-government and e-business applications. Users and online service providers can benefit from added security in their internet transactions, thanks to secure mutual authentication based on an official electronic document," noted Hans-Wolfgang Kunz, group executive for the Government Solutions business unit at Giesecke & Devrient.

Several European countries, including Germany, are planning to introduce electronic personal ID documents with integrated microchips. Citizens will thus be able to identify themselves to government offices on the Internet as well. At the same time, the electronic ID can also help make e-business applications more secure - and more convenient, since it eliminates the need to maintain numerous user names and passwords for various internet portals.

The personal information stored on the ID card's chip - such as the user's name, address or date of birth - is protected from unauthorized access in each transaction by Extended Access Control (EAC), a highly secure encryption protocol. Essentially, a secure channel is created between the server operated by the online service provider - like Wirecard Bank -and the microchip on the electronic ID card. The microchip verifies the service provider's individual access certificate to ensure the provider only accesses the personal data needed for its business processes. Citizens remain in control of who uses their personal information, since they have to explicitly grant access to their data by entering their PIN.
 
Giesecke & Devrient (G&D), based in Munich, Germany, is an international technology group operating subsidiaries and joint ventures throughout the world. Founded in Leipzig in 1852, G&D began as a printer of securities, and later specialized in banknote production. The company has been developing solutions and complete systems for automatic currency processing since 1970. Today, G&D is also a technology leader in smart cards, and a solutions provider in a wide range of fields, including telecommunications, electronic payments, identification, health, transportation, and IT security (PKI). In fiscal 2006, the Group employed some 8,300 people and generated a revenue of €1.3 billion.
 
Wirecard AG is one of the leading international providers of electronic payment and risk management solutions. Worldwide, Wirecard supports over 9,000 companies from many and various industry segments in automating their payment processes and minimizing cases of default. Wirecard Bank AG provides account and credit card services both for business and private customers and is a Principal Member of VISA, MasterCard and JCB. The Internet payment service Wirecard enables consumers to make secure payments at millions of MasterCard acceptance outlets worldwide. In addition, registered users can send or receive money orders to each other on a real-time basis.