Microsoft has developed a smartcard based on its Passport security architecture, which could help increase security for travellers.
As well as being based on the Passport security infrastructure, which is currently used to secure access to web services such as Hotmail, the prototype features a photograph and signature.
The director of Microsoft's .Net developer group, Mark Greatorex, said there has already been interest in the card from the private sector.
"We've got a number of interested parties and we are moving forward with it. We know people are interested in buying them, but we are at the prototype stage. We are developing the concept," he said.
"The architecture of Passport allows you to take the relevant level of identity to authenticate people. It's not ten years out, but it's not six months away either. We are constantly coming up with all sorts of ideas - the more people that come back and say they have to have it, will accelerate it."
As well as extending use of Passport technologies out of cyberspace, Microsoft is also looking at incorporating into its architecture the use of biometrics such as fingerprints.
"We are architecting Passport so there is a level of authentication that fits with what you are doing. The architecture is extensible up to biometrics," he said.
Passport is a central part of Microsoft's .Net strategy of making services interact with each other over the web. But Greatorex said that in the next 12 to 18 months, 70 per cent or more of web services will be deployed internally rather than externally to link up existing applications.
"Once they've got that sussed, they will start to experiment with external stuff," he said.
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