Continuing through the early winter of 2009, Harvard is distributing new, high-technology ID cards to the University community. The Harvard ID card is used in more than 400 systems across campus, and the new card will make those systems more secure by segregating key information and encrypting it in card-based technologies that are unique to Harvard.
The new ID card looks virtually identical to the old card, but it contains new technology, including an embedded microchip, an antenna, and a second (thinner) magnetic stripe. All these technologies were selected to enhance the security of the card and its associated information, now and in the future. A University task force of experts in administration, security, and technology studied available ID card technologies and settled on the “HID iClass” card because it can hold multiple credentials, process more transactions than other card technologies, and — because of encryption — is very difficult to replicate. In fact, the embedded cryptographic chip is unique to the University, adding an additional level of protection against fraudulent copying.
At the distribution points, the ID Card Exchange Team will trade affiliates’ old Harvard ID card for a new one in a matter of minutes, with all the personal data activated on the new card.
While ID exchange sites and dates were coordinated to reach the many different areas of campus, any member of the Harvard community can go to any exchange site convenient to them to pick up the new ID.