Sun Powers Java Technology Enabled ID Cards in Belgium

4/11/2003 - This month the Belgian government is introducing the country's first Electronic Identity Cards. The EID (Electronische Identiteitskaart or Electronic Identity Card) is the largest project of Sun Microsystems' Java technology enabled national ID cards in Europe, aiming to provide every Belgian resident over 12 years old with a personal ID card based on Java Card technology. The EID project sees the Belgian government taking a leading position in the world for eGoverment and electronic ID for citizens.

The EID project is the single largest government deployment of Java Card technology in Europe. Last week marked the start of the pilot phase, with tens of thousands of cards being distributed among the inhabitants of 11 cities spread over Belgium, allowing the system and its logistics to be tested on a real scale. The pilot will be evaluated by the Council of Ministers after a trial period of at least 6 months. In the event of a positive evaluation by this Council, the Belgian government expects to distribute over 10 million Electronic Identity Cards.

The roll-out of the new national identity card will mark a major milestone in the development of e-government. The credit card sized cards will deliver the same official functions as the traditional identity card - name, photo, date of birth. In addition the card will be equipped with several physical security elements and an advanced Java enabled chip.

"The new national ID card, based on Java Card technology, is a cornerstone in Belgium's e-government initiative," says Jan Deprest, President of Fedict, the Federal ICT department. "It will allow Belgian citizens to authenticate themselves in an easy and completely secure electronic way whenever they access e-government applications. The EID project may also allow future private applications to be accessed via the card, such as payment systems or reservation for cultural events. They will furthermore be able to put their own electronic signature to digital documents such as declarations or application forms, which will have the same value and legal status as the documents that are nowadays signed by hand."

"The EID project provides the citizens and government of Belgium with a cost effective, multi-functional, robust and secure national identity program, and puts Belgium at the forefront of e-Government in Europe," says Alain Wirtz, managing director of ZETES, Sun's partner who implemented this project. "The power behind this project builds on the quality of our technical solution and the partners we selected - in our opinion the best in their respective sectors. We did not compromise on the quality of the different components of our solution while fully respecting the budget imposed by government. The high-level quality and durability of the new Electronic Identity Cards are a crucial element in the government's striving for a simplified administration."

"The Belgian government joins the ranks of many governments worldwide that have chosen to issue smart identification cards based on Sun's proven Java Card technology," say Elie Simon , VP EMEA, Sun Microsystems. "The Belgian government is setting a new standard in ID cards. Java Card technology allows services and applications to be dynamically modified as the user's needs change, without incurring additional costs of replacing cards or distributing additional means of access. This solution will allow the Belgian people a level of mobility with security not possible previously, as well as allowing the Belgian government to adapt to future needs in the years to come."

Elie Simon continued: "We pleased that ZETES and the Belgian government have selected Sun's Java Card technology to meet their sophisticated and mission-critical needs in this large-scale identity card implementation project."

Java Card technology enables multiple applications to co-exist securely on a single smart card. The card will also act as a secure, individual digital signature to applications such as declarations or application forms. Java Card technology is an open and proven technology currently deployed worldwide in industries such as financial services, government and telecommunications; well-known for its security, interoperability, multiple application capability and adherence to open standards.

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision -- "The Network Is The Computer" -- has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that make the Net work. Sun can be found in more than 100 countries and on the World Wide Web at

Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun logo, Java, Java Card and The Network Is The Computer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

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