The Chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft, Bill Gates, will integrate the Belgian electronic identity card (eID) in MSN Messenger instant-messaging service and will examine how he can integrate the eID in other MS Windows technologies.

“With the eID we get a huge boost”

"We’re working to ensure that our technologies support eID, to help make online transactions and communications more secure…”, Bill Gates said. “With its program to provide citizens with electronic identification or "eID" cards, Belgium is on track to become the first country in the world to provide citizens with official electronic identification that can be used to verify identity online. This is an important step that will help Belgians access the Internet and use online services with greater safety and security, since the eID card provides the most secure identity verification that we have seen. So first of all, I would like to congratulate the government of Belgium for its leadership in advancing access to technology”.

In particular, Microsoft believes that combined with the eID Card MSN Messenger chatrooms will be much safer.  “We're not sure yet when we will be able to deliver this integration but developers here in Belgium and the US have proven the concept and are working already on the actual solution", added the Microsoft chairman.

“This is something we are going to support very aggressively in Microsoft software”

The announcement was made by Bill Gates along with the Belgian State Secretary for e-Government, Peter Vanvelthoven, in front of an audience of Belgian government and IT officials at Brussels, last week.

This late announcement by the Microsoft Chairman confirms the strong eID engagement of Microsoft whose Belgian subsidiary already launched several eID initiatives, in collaboration with the Belgian public authorities as well as with 2 main sponsors, namely Certipost and ZETES, the main contractor (production, personalisation and distribution) and global coordinator for the Belgian eID card project.

A great momentum

As main industry partner of the Belgian government in this eID project, ZETES welcomes the new eID announcement made by Microsoft chairman, Bill Gates” says Alain Wirtz, CEO of the ZETES Group.

"In 2004, ZETES already contributed to eID Awareness campaign organised by Microsoft Belgium” adds Alain Wirtz.  “As system integrator, we also partnered the Microsoft eID Early Adopters Program (EAP) for which ZETES and KPMG were honoured by a “Microsoft eID Project - Business Impact Award” during the last e-Governement Congress held in Brussels on December 2004 

"ZETES is now partnering with Microsoft Belgium in the context of the eID promotion campaign recently launched by Microsoft

In the same way, ZETES is open to any other eID partnership and to support any initiative that can help to bring new applications and new benefits to Belgian citizens, enterprises and administrations, and to make the Belgian eID project a great momentum at both local and international levels”, concludes Alain Wirtz.

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