WinMagic Inc., Mississauga, Ontario, a disk encryption software developer, began work on a pilot project with the U.S. Department of State, which will lead the department to a solution that is compliant with Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12).

HSPD-12, published by the U.S. government in August 2004, states that all federal government employees and contractors (including contractor employees) must use smart card technology, containing their “digital identity” in the form of a PKI certificate, in order to gain physical access to federally controlled facilities and logical access to federally controlled information systems.

HSPD-12 is designed to enhance security, increase government efficiency, reduce identity fraud and protect personal privacy, and will have a major impact on how federal employees and government contractors access their work places and computers.

The pilot project centers on the integration of a personal identity verification (PIV) card and biometrics with public key infrastructure (PKI) and disk encryption. WinMagic, along with Entrust, Precise Biometrics, SafeNet and Vmware, are working together on the pilot project.

“Proactive federal agencies recognize the necessity to integrate data protection solutions,” said Thi Nguyen-Huu, CEO of WinMagic. “These agencies realize this will not only protect sensitive data on computers from both internal and external security breaches, but will also prevent unauthorized access from stolen laptops.”