Digital tachograph: guardians of the key

On 21st May 2008 the European Root Certification Authority (ERCA) celebrated the performance of the 50th key certification session provided to Member States and other associated countries in the context of the European legislation on the digital tachograph system.

As of 1st May 2006, a digital tachograph is mandatory on newly plated trucks to record the working and rest times of drivers. The ERCA, hosted by the JRC Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC) in Ispra (Italy), oversees a key element of the security of the Digital Tachograph system: its cryptographic key management infrastructure. ERCA services started in October 2004. Since then, thirty countries have attended at least one of the 50 ERCA certification sessions in order to have their national public keys certified by ERCA.

Digital tachograph system

A digital tachograph system includes a vehicle unit operative to detect vehicle performance characteristics such as vehicle speed, elapsed trip distance, engine rpm, total engine revolutions, total fuel consumption, rate of fuel consumption and the like as a function of time. The forgoing vehicle performance characteristic data is displayed in the vehicle unit and is stored in a data memory located therein. A fixed base unit includes a central computer system for processing vehicle performance data, storing the data in a memory file and for reading out the vehicle performance data in the form of a printout, graph plot, CRT display or the like. The vehicle performance data may be transferred from the vehicle unit to a field terminal which connects to the central computer system either by means of a cable connection by directly interconnecting said portable memory unit or by radio transmission means.