Russia’s national telecommunication operator Rostelecom inked an agreement earlier this month with Sitronics, the country’s largest producer of microelectronic devices, to produce microchips containing the electronic signatures of Russian citizens. These microchips are to be integrated to conventional banking cards, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.
Sitronics expects to produce 50 million chips by 2017 using its own 90 nanometer technological process. Production will start in cooperation with state run nanotechnology development corporation Rusnano at Sitronics’ Zelenograd plant by the end of this year. The new chip embedded bank cards are a response to recent changes in Russian legislation on electronic signatures and will enable Russian citizens secure access to the country’s e-government service portal gosuslugi.ru.
Rostelecom has already signed agreements with three major Russian banks to start issuing the new cards and is holding advanced stage talks with another 15 lenders on the same issue.
In another move to make access to e-government services easier, Rostelecom launched its first digital signature center last month offering USB keys that offer secure access gosuslugi.ru.
Rostelecom also signed a partnership agreement with MasterCard to cooperate in the distribution of bank cards embedded e-signature chips. Besides the chips, the new cards would also contain MasterCard’s proprietary application providing access to a full range of banking services.