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Developed by GSA and NIST, the Government Smart Card Interoperability Specification (GSC-IS) defines an architectural model for interoperable smart card service provider modules, compatible with both file system cards and virtual machine cards. It provides technical solutions to a number of interoperability issues associated with contact and contactless smart card technology implementation. The specification was defined to provide the ability to develop secure identification smart cards that can operate across multiple government agencies or among federal, state and local governments.
Version 2.1 of the specification was released by NIST in July 2003. It provides guidance for system planners, both in and out of government, and the tools necessary to ensure that they have smart card and smart card reader interoperability. Products will be certified via conformance and security test programs established by NIST, providing organizations with a ready supply of certified products and the assurance that information technology (IT) investments will have a broader opportunity to generate a return.