By Karen Brindley.
The Java Card Forum (JCF) is proud to announce that it is celebrating its 20 year Anniversary in 2017. Back in 1997 a small group of smart card companies came together to form the Java Card Forum, to provide recommendations for the Java Card specification to Sun Microsystems – enhancing the platform to meet the needs of the smart security industry. This led to the publication by Sun (and later Oracle) of several releases of the Java Card specification over the years, effectively delivering Java Card technology’s promise of interoperability, security and multi-application support to the telecoms, IT security and financial services industries.
With around 20 billion Java technology based smart cards deployed so far, the Java Card platform can be considered as a tremendous success and is today the most used IT platform in the world. And after 20 years, its work remains as relevant today as it did back in the 90s; now looking to support new markets such as the Internet of Things.
The close collaboration of the original members is testament to their belief in the possibilities of this new platform and with the focus firmly on the telecoms market, the standardization of a SIM toolkit soon led to mass deployment of the technology. Other markets soon beckoned, and the JCF continued to work with Oracle on developing and enhancing the specification, with the release of Java Card version 3.0 in 2008 as a response to the growing importance of smart, secure, and portable devices in a convergent world. Java Card technology was seen as a key building block for the next wave of secure digital services such as Mobile payment, Identity, ticketing, M2M applications and many others. And with the emergence of secure elements, the Java Card platform could move beyond the standard smart card environment to a variety of different form factors.
“Java Card technology has always been a highly secure execution platform for innovative services: be it for SIM based services in the telecommunications area, smart payment services in the banking and financial service area or providing a secure environment for identity use cases such as passports, identity and health documents. This still holds true for today’s scenarios. There are a variety of use-cases for the platform and not all of them are card based,” said Volker Gerstenberger the current President of the Java Card Forum.
“What is important to understand though, is how relevant Java Card technology remains today,” continued Volker. “With the advent of the age of the Internet of Things we are seeing more and more connected endpoint devices that need to be secured. We see additional new networks (such as Narrow-Band IoT, for example) that have to be protected and we are seeing the emergence of a variety of completely new and unforeseen services that need to be enabled from both a user experience perspective and more importantly, from a security perspective.”
“We are now working on the next version of the Java Card specification with the clear objective to address the Internet of Things security challenges. By this I mean new features supporting integration into IoT devices and new types of communication protocols and therefore becoming the new security powerhouse for IoT.”