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Smart card keyboards for West Midlands police

Cherry Electrical Products : 12 June, 2009  (Application Story)
8000 keyboards equipped with smart card readers to be supplied to the West Midlands Police force to ensure the protection of sensitive data in line with the Gateway data protection program
Smart card keyboards for West Midlands police
ZF Electronics - formerly Cherry Electrical Products has just won an 8000-piece order for one of its innovative smartcard keyboard products which are being used as part of an ambitious security project being undertaken by the West Midlands Police which will ensure the protection of sensitive data.

The company's G83-6644LUAGB-2 smartcard keyboard was an integral part of the tender documentation for the innovative Gateway Program. Now in the process of being implemented, the program will mean that the West Midlands Police force has a fully integrated, high level security system. Smartcards are being issued to every member of staff in the organisation and the smartcard keyboards will be used in over 150 different police buildings across the region. All personnel can use their smartcard to log on to their computer and access applications with Single Sign-On (SSO), and in 38 sites staff will additionally use their smartcard to gain access into the buildings.

ZF Electronics' Cherry G83-6644LUAGB-2 keyboard incorporates a class-2 chip card reader, making it a highly optimized solution for input devices in applications requiring high levels of security. It is fully approved for digital signatures, PKI and Single Sign-On. It supports USB 2.0 interconnection, secure PIN entry, and CT-Api. Furthermore, the keyboard is CCID compatible, and is compliant with both ISO 7816-2 and EMV 2000 Level 1.

The Cherry keyboards have been supplied via Nottingham-based Ergo Computing, which has been the principal computer hardware contractor for West Midlands Police since early 2006, supplying desktop and notebook PCs to the force. Each G83-6644LUAGB-2 works in conjunction with software from vendor ActivIdentity, which allows the smartcard system to function, grafting it into the Windows operating system. The West Midlands Police also expects to place a further significant order for ZF Electronics' Cherry ST-1044U USB smartcard readers, which are to be used where existing keyboards need to be retained. These durable devices feature a heavy base enabling one-hand card insertion and removal without any movement of the unit.

'The utilisation of Cherry keyboards was fundamental to our strategy for the roll out of Smart card technology; the robustness of the product in what can be a difficult environment and the help and support Cherry has supplied has been outstanding. We are very pleased to be working with Cherry on the project', states Paul Williamson, project director for the Gateway Program.

'This is a good demonstration of our secure keyboard solutions, and we are very pleased that the West Midlands Police picked Cherry products to be involved in the roll-out of the program,' says Steve Gumm, key account manager at ZF Electronics. 'Moving forward we are very confident that when similar projects are undertaken by other constabularies they will look to ZF to support them.'
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