Proving Your Identity—Smart Cards and the Sad State of the Art

I am in the process of updating my vCard to the new 4.0 standard, and decided it was time to once again obtain a digital certificate that I could use to sign and/or encrypt e-mail messages with. And since I have a laptop with a Smart Card reader, I figure it would be great to leverage it for more secure logins, file encryption, and a few other things. The only digital certificate that can do all those things is the ITU’s x.509 public key infrastructure (PKI) standard, which dates from 1988.

There are many reasons why the average person, not just this geek’s geek, would want to do this: