Austrias Citizens E-ified

Austria has finished to issue its citizens the 'ecard' and now is the first country worldwide where the whole population is equipped with a government approved smart-card.

All 8 million people have the 'e-card' in their pockets, basically is the user-side element of an government approved public key infrastructure.

The backbone consists of two redundant IBM servers with 96 processors each and 10 TB of HD that are currently processing up to 450.000 transactions per second. At this stage the system is solely used for e-health purposes. The servers store encrypted electronic health-records of the citizens. With the ecard the patient can decrypt the data and grant doctors access to it, prescriptions are also handeld through the system.Austria plans to extend the ecard system into a full blown 'citizen-card' that serves as an authentication media for eGovernment and eBusiness processes. As the next step the introduction of a electronic qualification record is under discussion and it is to be expected that ultimately all public data about an individual will be stored in the system.

Germany will introduce a similar system from January 1. on and many other European countries like France will follow soon after.

First conflicts about the use of the data have already occurred. The Austrian government compiles reports on alcohol usage and sexual behavior from the data; supposedly without proper anonymisation. Also a census is planned on basis of this data.

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