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HP last week made a grab for a bigger slice of the lucrative identity market with the release of a National Identity System (NIS) based on Microsoft's .NET platform. The technology offers "Secure Identification Management for Governments Around the World" or (put another way) a means for states to keep tabs on their citizens. The technology comes with a modular structure that allows easy access to egovernment services and the ability to conduct secure transactions online. It can also integrate with various biometric systems.

All aboard the gravy train

Niche firms and consultants have claimed the lion's share of revenues in the identity management market thus far. HP is out to change that with a platform based on Microsoft .NET technology rather than the Unix systems traditionally used in large-scale enterprise systems. Launch of the technology comes days after the UK government reintroduced legislation paving the way for the introduction of compulsory ID cards in the UK. Existing customers include the Italian Ministry of Interior. The identity market is predicted to grow from $4.8bn in 2004 to $10.7bn in 2007, according to industry analyst firm Morgan Keegan.

HP and Microsoft are investing in the technology through initiatives such as a joint training programs and the establishment of specialist centres around the world to develop national identity systems. The system is based on Microsoft software such as Microsoft Server 2003 Enterprise Edition, Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004, Microsoft SQL Server 2000 (64-bit), the Microsoft .NET Framework and Microsoft Services. ®

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