Java Card Forum


The Java Card Form is a collaboration of companies from the smart card, secure operating system, and secure silicon industry, working together to promote and develop Java as the preferred programming language for multi-application smart cards and secure devices. 

The Java Card Forum celebrates its 20th Anniversary

Back in 1997 a small group of smart card companies came together to provide recommendations for specifications to Sun Microsystems for the Java Card platform. The Java Card Forum was formed and together have worked on enhancing the specification to meet the needs of the smart security industry. And after 20 years, their work remains as relevant today as it did back in the 90s, now looking to support new markets such as IoT.

We will be celebrating the Anniversary with many different posts and activities throughout the year, so make sure you sign-up to receive an email reminder about new posts – go to “FOLLOW NEW POSTS VIA EMAIL” in the right hand column and click on the Follow button.


The continuing journey of the Java Card Forum

Berlin, 6th February 2017 – The Java Card Forum (JCF) is proud to announce that it is celebrating its 20 year Anniversary in 2017. Back in 1997 a small group of smart card companies came together to form the Java Card Forum, to provide recommendations for the Java Card specification to Sun Microsystems – enhancing the platform to meet the needs of the smart security industry. This led to the publication by Sun (and later Oracle) of several releases of the Java Card specification over the years, effectively delivering Java Card technology’s promise of interoperability, security and multi-application support to the telecoms, IT security and financial services industries. With around 20 billion Java technology based smart cards deployed so far, the Java Card platform can be considered as a tremendous success and is today the most used IT platform in the world. And after 20 years, its work remains as relevant today as it did back in the 90s; now looking to support new markets such as the Internet of Things.

The close collaboration of the original members is testament to their belief in the possibilities of this new platform and with the focus firmly on the telecoms market, the standardization of a SIM toolkit soon led to mass deployment of the technology. Other markets soon beckoned, and the JCF continued to work with Oracle on developing and enhancing the specification, with the release of Java Card version 3.0 in 2008 as a response to the growing importance of smart, secure, and portable devices in a convergent world. Java Card technology was seen as a key building block for the next wave of secure digital services such as Mobile payment, Identity, ticketing, M2M applications and many others. And with the emergence of secure elements, the Java Card platform could move beyond the standard smart card environment to a variety of different form factors.

Read the whole Release here.

Remaining relevant after 20 years; The Java Card Forum

By Volker Gerstenberger, President of the Java Card Forum

Volker_G h&s

This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Java Card Forum. At first glance one could look at the Java Card Forum as just another industry association but I think it is so much more. Of course, just like any industrial initiative, it was set up to lay down technical groundwork – but it was also there to promote Java Card technology as a whole concept and platform.

Already in the very early days, the commitment to co-operation was quite unique – with several companies coming together to lay down the technical requirements of the first Java Card specification and passing these specifications to a third party who took on the responsibility to drive, test and make ready for market use. This kind of technological breakthrough was based on successful international co-operative standardization, perhaps only surpassed by the success story of GSM and similarly, as GSM has evolved, so has Java Card technology. Both have a similar commitment to succeed with close co-operation.

I wasn’t there in the early days, but I think that one of the highlights of Java Card technology was the initial establishment of the first joint specification – when the ‘baby was born’, so to speak. To my mind that must have been a very rewarding situation for the people involved in the standardization process or being active in driving this technology forward. The actual first shipment to a customer must also have been very exciting for the people behind JCF at the time. And then to witness Java Card technology soaring to new heights with respect to deployment – the ultimate proof of market acceptance.

What is important to understand though, is how relevant Java Card technology remains today. With the advent of the age of the Internet of Things we are seeing more and more connected endpoint devices that need to be secured. We see additional new networks (such as Narrow-Band IoT, for example) that have be protected and we are seeing the emergence of a variety of completely new and unforeseen services that need to be enabled from both a user experience perspective and, more importantly, from a security perspective.

I am convinced that Java Card technology still has an important role to play and there is an increasing necessity in it providing security for the coming Internet of Things. Having said that – here’s to another 20 years!

Read the whole Release here.


The Java Card Forum’s “Java Card Platform vs Native Cards” Whitepaper is now available for download.

“Java Card technology is widely used in high-end card markets, in which it helps increasing the value of cards through the deployment of value-added services. In these markets, issuers benefit from Java Card technology, and from the experience built over the past 15 years by vendors, in particular around quality and security. In low-end markets, on the opposite, such value-added services are not as common.

We show in this paper that Java Card can be present on such markets, simply by removing the ability to add applications after the issuance of the card. By doing that, issuers can keep most advantages of the Java Card platform, including in particular better time-to-market, as well as the ability to design a range of card platforms in their offers, ranging from a closed platform for mass deployment to a fully open platform for premium customers.”