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The federal government is increasingly interested in the use of smart cards--credit-card-like devices that use integrated circuit chips to store and process data--for improving the security of its many physical and information assets. Besides better authentication of the identities of people accessing buildings and computer systems, smart cards offer a number of potential benefits and uses, such as creating electronic passenger lists for deploying military personnel, and tracking immunization and other medical records. Earlier this year, GAO reported on the use of smart cards across the federal government (GAO-03-144). GAO was asked to testify on the results of this work, including the challenges to successful adoption of smart cards throughout the federal government, as well as the government's progress in promoting this smart card adoption.

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