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Politics and technologies

Week 23, 2010

Maybe the risk of cancellation is inherent to ID projects, as they are tightly dependent with politics, and political changes. One may remember the cancellation of the EUR 1.7 billion German healthcare project (cf. Smart Insights Weekly #10-04), due to a combination of technical and political reasons. Many other national ID projects are under fire. The largest ongoing ID project is the Indian UID, which is also facing criticism, with some columnists even asking for its total cancellation.

Technologies are often heavily influenced by politics, not only in the Government ID segment. For instance, we announce this week that China Mobile, the #1 mobile network operator in the world by the number of subscribers is abandoning its proprietary RF-SIM technology, and is on the path towards NFC adoption. Again, this comes from a combination of technical reasons (integration issues, high consumption, need to upgrade the payment terminals base, unit cost) and political ones, as the hand of the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) seems to stand behind the decision.

Maybe our technology world would be simpler without politics involvement. But, without politics, our technology may simply not exist at all…

Thierry Spanjaard

Chief Editor

Smart Insights