The Computer Revolution/Hardware/Smartcards

A smart card is a small credit card sized microprocessor that enables us to conduct daily activities much faster and simpler. The inside of a smart card is embedded with a microprocessor (like a brain of a computer) that is responsible for keeping track of the information on the card and processes the use of the smart card. Currently, some smart cards here in North America have magnetic stripes to track the information. The problem with this is that the stripe can be hacked into and read, re-written over, deleted, and changed. In Europe, all smart cards have actual intelligence, where the microprocessor is placed under a contact pad on the back of the card and it is read by computer networks for verification and processing. Smart cards have different amounts of RAM and programmable ROM. The card reader powers it up and reads the information while updating it with every use. Some places you use a smart card include entrance into a building (you scan the card for the door to open every time you enter), banking machines, vending machines, gas pumps, air miles, and even your Mount Royal ID is a smart card.

Contact Smart CardsEdit

Contact Cards require insertion into a smart card reader with a direct connection to a conductive micro-module on the surface of the card.

The basic idea of a smart-card is to transfer and save date to a single chip sized storage. This gives people the freedom of downloading more content compared to not having one and downloading to phone space. Smart cards are made of plastic, generally polyvinyl chloride. They also provide a strong firewall to keep data safe from outsiders. Since smart-cards have become very popular, society has been forced to create numerous smart-card readers ranging from laptop readers to ATM cards. Smart-cards give the best possible way to carry data with such a small chip that can be held by anything you desire.

Contactless Smart CardsEdit

A smart card that uses radio frequencies to provide a wireless connection to the reader. The transmission range is only a couple of inches, but allows the card to be quickly passed by a reader in applications such as secured entrances.

Contactless smart cards use radio frequency (RF) technology to interact with a reader. The market for these cards is growing rapidly, creating tremendous new opportunities for issuers. Popular applications include transit cards for fare payment, employee IDs in government and corporate environments, e-passports and other secure travel documents, and cards for cashless payment. Other high-security applications will appear soon. [1]

Smart Card/RFID tag Privacy ConcernsEdit

While there are many advantages to RFID technology, there are also some disadvantages. Privacy is a concern and because RFID technology is still in the early stages of development, the flaws in security are still prevalent. Until some of the privacy concerns are addressed and resolved RFID/Smart Card technology will have a difficult time gaining widespread acceptance.

RFID will have a difficult time gaining widespread acceptance due to the issues of privacy. What will this type of technology mean for consumers? When consumers buy products, there is a possibility that they can be tracked. Some states are issuing driver licenses with RFID chips, so which mean any driver can be located. It is a fear that RFID can track a person's movement and make that information readily available, and compromise a person's anonymity. It is also a fear of fraud and identity theft. RFID will have a difficult time gaining widespread acceptance until some security measures are put in place.