Where are the readers?
Also some technical and coordination issues are holding back the deployment of readers. E-passport readers are not yet standardized, and in order to control passports in a global PKI system, one needs to have a directory of certificates, and a tool to manage the creation, exchange and revocation of these certificates. That’s the role assigned to the ICAO’s Public Key Directory (PKD), in which only just 20 of 80 eligible countries participating as of November 2010. One of the obstacles remains funding the PKD.
Deploying cards without readers unfortunately happens in other projects. Just in the Government ID field, one can name the US TWIC (Transportation Worker Identification Credential) project, where cards are generally visually inspected or India’s driving license project, in which cards seldom meet readers.
Electronic IDs can work, to a certain extent, without readers. This is not the case for all secure transactions applications. The industry is just realizing that NFC deployment will have to go through the development of a wide acceptance infrastructure. In other words, merchants are the key to real-size NFC deployment.