[Linux-bruxelles] Re: smart cards (eg eID) and GNU/linux

Danny De Cock decockd at esat.kuleuven.ac.be
Mer 2 Fév 23:55:06 CET 2005

On Wed, 2 Feb 2005, Nicolas Pettiaux wrote:

> Dear Danny,
> I have really appreciated your wiki

thanx :)

> (http://www.esat.kuleuven.ac.be/~decockd/wiki/bin/view.cgi) that
> contains much information about the eID smart cards and also Debian
> GNU/linux (that I happen to use and promote, as I have done for years)


> I would therefore like to ask you some questions:
> I run Debian Ubuntu on my x86 portable, with a recent java JRE
> installed, and I will take such a system as "the platform".

I currently use debian/sarge as `the platform' :)

> Which hardware can I buy to read and process the smart cards available
> in Belgium made by which vendors ? (Belgian official eID and SIS cards,
> private banking cards like VISA, Proton and MC/bancontact ...)

note that a sis card is not a smartcard...  in theory, any smartcard
reader which is currently on the market can work with the belgian eid
card, proton card, emv card (e.g., a visa card),...  in practice, I have
not met a smartcard reader of a recent nature which has problems with any
of these cards...

I have been using different types/brands/models of smartcard readers from
various vendors...  it is quite delicate to tell you which brand I
prefer...  I included on my wiki's forum section a topic related to the
topic ];-)

> How to compare the readers and Which reader would you recommend ?

this is a tricky one: for business use, you definitely must use a high-end
smartcard reader, but for home use, you could buy a simple reader.  A
`transparent' reader (i.e., a reader without pinpad or display) could do,
but I would recommend a reader with pinpad and display.

> Which are the smart cards that can be accessed on GNU/linux using which
> software platform ? (javan python ... ?)

using smartcards is not operating system dependent...  if you fetch a
reader, and you find the drivers for your operating system to make that
reader work, you can use whatever smartcard you like...

> Will the functions : recharge of a proton card, reading of the Belgian
> eID, SIS card by Medical doctors, ... be "easily" available on the
> GNU/linux platform ? If not, what would need to be done to make them
> accessible ? (if the SIS card would be readable using GNU/linux, we
> could think to propose to use these systems to the
> phamacists/apothekers)

the belgian government already provides software packages (including
sources) which work with the eid card !

about loading proton cards: this is a banksys issue, and I have no idea
what their plans are in this matter...  in theory, there is no reason why
a proton card could not be loaded using a non-windows operating system.
in practice, I guess they find the market too small to invest in it...

about the sis card: this is a memory card, so you need a memory card
reader to read it out...  many smartcard readers can also read out memory
cards, but that is not my field of expertise...

> We could put the answers to all these question in you wiki and that
> could help start a discussion and maybe thereaftr organize a meeting of
> interested developpers.


cu, danny.

> Much thanks in advance,
> Nicolas
> --
> Nicolas Pettiaux - Association for electronic liberty - AEL -
> http://wiki.ael.be

We will cross that bridge when we come back to it later...
mail: decockd:at:esat:dot:kuleuven:dot:be                     http://godot.be
      godot:at:advalvas:dot:be                  http://godot.studentenweb.org
      godot:at:godot:dot:be         web: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/~decockd

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