French Govt Confirms Plans To Issue Smart Card ID Cards 03/04/94

Timothy C. May tcmay at
Fri Mar 4 23:06:07 PST 1994

Someone sent me this message and suggested I forward it to the List.
I'll just send it along via the normal channels.

By the wa, this is just one of several indications that non-U.S.
nations are just as far along as the U.S. is in moving toward a
Surveillance State. I mentioned this a few weeks back, and some List
members from Norway, Australia, and elsewhere contributed tidbits from
their own countries. Germany, France, and the United Kingdom are very
far along in such developments, and generally lack the same kind of
civil liberties consciousness that the U.S. has (this is not a
criticism of Europeans, but a statement of fact. Lacking robust
constitutions--not that the U.S. document is looking particularly
robust these days--the police have extensive powers of search and
seizure, and of detention, and of surveillance, that even the American
Security Apparatus can only envy.

The Germans are on the verge of rescinding some constitutional
provisions to allow for increased police surveilance. Ironically, the
Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) seeks these powers ostensibly to combat
Neo-Nazism and nuclear terrorism, while Neo-Nazi murderers are slapped
on the wrist. Read "The Economist" for details of events in Europe, or
"Germany Alert," a newsletter out of New York written by German
ex-pats to educate the world about the dangers of fascism in Germany
and Europe today.

The links to Clipper and the "family keys" being prepared for the
French, Japanese, and other nations tell us that the key deals have
already been cut.

Here's the article, this one about France.

Subject: French Govt Confirms Plans To Issue Smart Card ID Cards 03/04/94 (fwd)
To: tcmay at
Date: Fri, 4 Mar 94 23:05:30 

 Tim, you might wanna forward this to cypherpunks under the
information liberation front. I don't have a list of currently working
remailers so I really can't forward it anonymously now. Its scary.

> PARIS, FRANCE, 1994 MAR 4 (NB) -- The French government has
> confirmed its plans to replace citizen's paper-based ID cards with
> credit card-sized "smart card" ID cards.
> According to Charles Pasqua, the French Interior Minister, the smart
> ID cards have already been trialled in several regions of France and
> will be phased in across the whole of the country by the end of next
> year. The new cards are distinctive, Newsbytes notes, owing to their
> blue color.
> Initially, the cards can be read by anyone with a suitable card
> reader and will include name, address and date of birth
> information. Plans are in hand, however, to allow advanced card
> readers to link to the French central database and automatically
> update the card with new information, such as change of address
> etc., as it becomes available.
> According to Pasqua, the main reason for the introduction of the
> cards was one of national security, as he noted that, since the
> cards began their trials in 1988, more than 500,000 had been issued
> and not one forgery had turned up. In comparison, out of three
> million paper ID cards issued in 1992, around 10,000 were forged.
> Visitors to France, Newsbytes understands, will shortly be 
> issued a computerized stamp, including a barcode readable tag
> affixed to their passport. Visitors with "right to remain," (a
> term applied to visitors staying longer than six months) will be
> issued with the smart ID cards in due course.
> Smart cards are all the rage in France at the moment, Newsbytes
> notes. Almost all Visa cards issued by French banks are smart cards,
> with the electronics supplied by Thomson CSF and other French
> technology companies.
> The cards contain details of recent transactions, as well as act
> as an "electronic purse" for smaller value transactions using a
> personal identification number (PIN) as authorization. "Purse
> transactions" are usually separate from the card credit/debit
> system, and, when the purse is empty, it can be reloaded from the
> card at a suitable ATM or retailer terminal.
> (Steve Gold/19940304)

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