The German smart card company Giesecke & Devrient has been certified to produce the latest generation of Proton cards, Proton World International said.

The G&D cards meet the Proton R3 specification, which accommodates a wide range of applications and services on the single chip, as well as security measures including high-level data encryption.

"G&D will be able to support any of Proton World's selected applications in addition to the electronic purse," said Dieter Bulle, vice president of payment and multimedia at the Munich company.

"The worldwide objectives of Proton World and Giesecke & Devrient's position as a global security and technology leader in smart cards match very well," said Jurgen Nehls, G&D management board member and head of the cards and card systems division. "We will use our core competencies in banking, telecommunications, mass transit, identification, health care, and multimedia to actively support the future of this very promising technology."

Separately, Proton said its cards can be used to buy prepaid time on Belgacom's Proximus mobile phone network. Proton cardholders were already able to load value on the chips via the Internet and to pay for goods on- line.

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