Athena Smartcard and five other companies bolster GIXEL's work on digital identity and privacy protection

by Athena Smartcard | Feb 13, 2012
Athena Smartcard has joined five other companies to provide support for the GIXEL Smart Card Group, in particular work concerning the IAS ECC electronic identity ecosystem.


Six players from the electronics industry are set to provide support and assistance for the GIXEL Smart Card Group, in particular on work concerning the IAS ECC electronic identity ecosystem.[1].

The move sees international group ARJO WIGGINS, a manufacturer of secure documents and paper, ATHENA SMARTCARD, a Japanese company creating smart card operating systems, FIME, providers of tools and testing services, KEYNECTICS, digital trust service providers, KSW MICROTEC, a German inlay supplier, SOLIATIS, a supplier of tools and testing services, all becoming GIXEL members.

The GIXEL is a professional organization, bringing together French companies from the smart card industry. This organization defines the specifications and tools ensuring the interoperability of identity documents and their use for digital services.

In combination with market leaders (GEMALTO, IMPRIMERIE NATIONALE, MORPHO, OBERTHUR TECHNOLOGIES, SPS STMICROELECTRONICS, Thales), these new partners benefit from a powerful force for developing digital identity, and a methodology which is comparable with that which enabled the international deployment of electronic passports from 2006 onwards.

The international recognition garnered by the GIXEL through its work on the IAS ECC frame of reference provides everyone with a competitive edge in the identity products market.

The IAS ECC ecosystem is made up of technical implementation specifications which comply with the “European Citizen Card” standard for access to electronic services, conformity and interoperability test specifications, automation tools for these tests and the definition of a certification scheme.

For governments looking for a digital identity product, the IAS ECC ecosystem is the mark of a range of high-quality, safe, inter-operable products at a competitive price. It provides access to a wide range of products and services with shared specifications, which comply with the ECC1 and have been tested.

As a designer of digital identity ecosystems, and thanks to this new international aspect, the GIXEL will organise an electronic identity interoperability test session in June 2012. It will provide the results of this work free of charge to all.

It is also working on standards to protect the privacy of internet users.

Marie Figarella, Chairperson, sums up the purpose of the GIXEL Smart Card Group as follows: “This industry requires standardization, not as a method of protection but as a tool for interoperability. At the GIXEL, we believe that we must go over and above standardization alone by promoting ecosystems. These ensure that products put on the smart card market comply with conditions concerning functional conformity, ease of use, interoperability, security and privacy protection. These results are the fruit of heavy investment agreed upon by the companies, within standardization organizations or other organizations such as the GIXEL Smart Card Group”.

At present, the GIXEL brings together 52 high-tech companies manufacturing and/or selling electronic systems and components. These components and systems contribute to the added value of electronic equipment, representing in 2010 an estimated global market of € 1,170 billion.

For more information about Athena IAS ECC solutions, please see our IAS ECC page. 


Alasdair Murray
Tel: +44 (0)131 2081202
Athena Smartcard

[1] IAS ECC: Identification, Authentication, electronic Signature - European Citizen Card