June 01, 2005

Swiss company WISeKey partners with HP and Microsoft

Security: Wisekey, HP and Microsoft Authenticate Electronic Identity
Security, terrorism, biometrics. To say the least, these concerns were at the heart of intense activity during the last few days. Early in the week, Brussels was receiving the first post-election visit of the US Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, who encouraged Europeans to tune their security controls to US methods, to improve the effectiveness of the fight against terrorism. On Friday, at the Hewlett Packard (HP) Innovation Center in Geneva, the international press was invited to a conference that announced the creation of a new National Identification System (NIS) developed jointly by HP, Microsoft and most importantly, Geneva start-up Wisekey.

Even if these events were not truly linked, the fact remains that identity management remains one of the greatest challenges for government. According to a study carried out by the US based company, Morgan Keegan, this market represents approximately US$4.8 billion dollars globally and should reach US$10.7 billion by 2007. In Europe, more than 120 billion Euros have already been invested in the public sector in this area (government, police, Lisbon agenda, etc.); the budget devoted to security has doubled to 70 billion Euros; and 8 billion Euros have been directed to border protection, stated Pascal Detemmerman, HP Vice President of Public Sector, on Friday. "Today's need for secure identification of individuals on national and international levels is such that only an alliance between various partners can guarantee the development of optimal solutions and their success," added Gilles Polin, director of EMEA e-Government solutions Microsoft.

The significance of this is not immediately evident to me. Here is WISeKey's website.


Anonymous Vaughn said...

Hello Kirsten,

Not sure if I understand what you're referring to in terms of not seeing the significance...? Do you mean that Wisekey is involved, the international overtones, the PR jabber at the end from EMEA...?

The things that strike me as significant are the industries that appears ready and willing to scam a windfall on this and the implications towards ones freedom of movement.

I was reading earlier that the estimated costs of the UK id program were forecasted to cost in the hundreds of pounds per individual, and no mention was made of any ongoing costs of the bureaucracy the program would spawn. IMO - just another deviant means to extract a tad more from those who would be shorn - for their own good - nach!

Not meaning to oversimplify my not understanding your remark about the significance of this - but to me the significance is revenue and control - a totalitarian wetdream.

11:15 PM  
Blogger Kirsten said...

You're right- I wasn't clear on that. I understand that it is significant in terms of where Real ID is going and all that, but my goal here isn't just to wring my hands in despair. What I really mean here is I'm not sure what is the significance of this information as far as how we can use this information to protest Real ID.

With HP and Microsoft, many of us are customers or investors which gives us something to leverage off of in telling those companies what we think of their participation. On the other hand, I don't know how to use this information regarding WISeKey. To my knowledge, I'm not a customer or investor nor is anyone else I know. Perhaps the international overtones or WISeKey's other products/activities can be used in talking points or something. It's not clear to me at the moment.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wisekey has support from the ITU to bring identity technologies to the developing world. Lots of talk, little action.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Vaughn said...

Hi Kirsten,

Thanks, I understand better now what you had in mind.

As I recall from the article, they're privately owned and probably don't have to reveal shareholder or assets information.

For now the value - or significance - may be in that they're attracting some attention - and not all of it positive.

There was a time when the names CACI, or Blackwater weren't well-known, same for Diebold, Carlyle etc..

Hard to say exactly what the significance is right now, but the search engines are always 'spidering' - the mention may prove useful down the road...

11:20 PM  

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