Technical Committee (TC) Secure Element Technologies (SET) Activity Report 2023

Chair: Denis Praca, Thales

Responsible for the development and maintenance of specifications for Secure Elements (SEs) in a multi-application capable environment, their integration into such an environment, and the secure provisioning of services making use of SEs.

ETSI’s Technical Committee on Secure Element Technologies (TC SET) is responsible for developing and maintaining specifications for the Secure Element (SE) used in communication systems including the Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) applications.

TC SET develops ‘agnostic’ specifications that can find their way into other applications such as ID management, ticketing and cards with contactless interfaces used in financial services. It is of particular importance for the user that for each topic addressed, the committee’s specifications encompass not only requirements and the technical solution but also conformance testing for both the SE and the terminal. The remote management of SEs and the interfaces required for the interaction of servers involved in this management are also addressed in the committee’s work.

TC SET is the home of the UICC – the most widely deployed Secure Element with more than five billion pieces entering the market every year just as SIM cards, a share of well over 50% of the Secure Elements market (source: EUROSMART). The UICC specifications are still evolving with the support of multiple logical SEs inside one physical UICC, the definition of the requirements for supporting the I3C interface which is the standard for components interconnection inside a mobile device. This new interface will bring faster communication to the UICC as well as easier integration.

The committee is also home of the new Smart Secure Platform (SSP). Designed to cover needs from diverse industries (e.g. automotive, banking, telecom, IoT), SSP offers a more flexible platform than the UICC. It can be adapted to multiple different products and markets, while maintaining a common set of features and some of the characteristics of the UICC platform. SSP offers an open platform for multiple applications, a choice of physical interfaces and form factors to adapt to market needs, a flexible file system, and built-in capabilities to support multiple authentication methods (such as biometrics). It is designed to further the design of scalable secure solutions that can be optimized to fit different markets and products.

The committee’s work includes inputs from ETSI and outside organizations. Interaction with External Bodies during 2023 notably included: 3GPP (CT6, SA3: Enhancements of UICC and use of SSP), GlobalPlatform (OFL & VPP specifications for SSP), EUROSMART (Product and System Security), GCF (Conformance and Interoperability), GSMA: (Secure Elements for mobile communications), MIPI Alliance (Interface Protocols. I2C, I3C), NFC Forum (Contactless Interface), oneM2M (Secure Elements in general), OMA (Device Management), Trusted Connectivity Alliance (TCA) - formerly SIMalliance (Management of Secure Elements).

In 2023 TC SET approved and issued updates to a number of Technical Specifications, including:

  • TS 103 999-1 V15.2.0: Smart Secure Platform, Part 1: Test Specification, general characteristics (Release 15)
  • TS 103 818 V17.1.0: Smart Secure Platform; I3C® interface (Release 17)
  • TS 103 713 V18.0.0: Smart Secure Platform; SPI interface (Release 18)
  • TS 103 666-1 V17.3.0: Smart Secure Platform; Part 1: General characteristics (Release 17)
  • TS 103 481 V16.2.0: Smart Cards, Test specification for the Remote APDU structure for UICC based applications; UICC features (Release 16)
  • TS 102 705 V18.0.0: Smart Cards, UICC Application Programming Interface for Java Card™ for Contactless Applications (Release 18)
  • TS 102 694-1 V15.1.0: Smart Cards; Test specification for the Single Wire Protocol (SWP) interface; Part 1: Terminal features (Release 15)
  • TS 102 412 V18.0.0: Smart Cards; Smart Card Platform Requirements Stage 1 (Release 18)
  • TS 102 268 V7.3.0: Smart Cards; Test specification for the UICC Application Programming Interface (API) for Java Card™ (Release 7)
  • TS 102 267 V18.0.0: Smart Cards, Connection Oriented Service API for the Java Card™ platform (Release 18)
  • TS 102 241 V18.0.0: Smart Cards; UICC Application Programming Interface (UICC API) for JavaCard™ (Release 18)
  • TS 102 240 V18.0.0: Smart Cards; UICC Application Programming Interface and Loader Requirements; Service description (Release 18)
  • TS 102 230-2 V17.1.0: Smart Cards, UICC-Terminal interface; Physical, electrical and logical test specification; Part 2: UICC features (Release 17)
  • TS 102 230-1 V17.0.0: Smart Cards, UICC-Terminal interface; Physical, electrical and logical test specification; Part 1: Terminal features (Release 17)
  • TS 102 226 V18.1.0: Smart Cards; Remote APDU structure for UICC based applications (Release 18)
  • TS 102 223 V17.2.0: Smart Cards; Card Application Toolkit (CAT) (Release 17)
  • TS 102 221 V18.1.0: UICC – Terminal interface; Physical and logical characteristics (Release 18)
  • TS 101 220 V17.1.0: Smart Cards; ETSI numbering system for telecommunication application providers (Release 17)

During the year the committee’s TEST Working Group Secure Element (UICC) specifications were upgraded to cover new releases of respective core specifications.

Meanwhile the committee’s TEC Working Group completed technical realization of requirements for the CAT-Runtime environment – as defined in TS 102 240 – for the support of logical Terminal-UICC interfaces and logical SEs. This resulted in a new version of TS 102 241 that was published in August 2023.

The committee’s REQ Working Group made progress on Work Items regarding requirements for:

  • Toolkit Test Events API support for device testing (TTE_API) related to TS 102 240 (published in July 2023).
  • Toolkit Test Events support for device testing (TTE) related to TS 102 412, (published in November 2023).

In parallel, the TEC Working Group completed technical realization of TTE contained in TS 102 221 (published in May) and in TS 102 241 (published in Q4).

In Q1 2023, TC SET approved a new Work Item regarding the specification of test cases to verify the Logical Secure element Interface (LSI). This enhancement to support multiple Logical Terminal-UICC Interfaces over one physical interface was defined in ETSI TS 102 221 and published in 2022. Test specifications covering LSI feature are now being developed by TC SET WG TEST. The outcome was published as an upgrade of TS 102 230‑1, TS 102 230‑2 and TS 102 384 in Q3 2023.

With I3C being a widely used interface by the terminal, there is a need to facilitate the integration of the UICC that could also benefit from improved performance of the I3C interface. In March, TC SET therefore approved a new Work Item to collect and define requirements for the UICC to support the I3C interface. This resulted in publication of an update of TS 102 412 in November.

In parallel, TC SET WG TEC commenced work on technical realization to implement requirements related to the I3C interface for non-removable UICCs as defined in TS 102 412. The corresponding Work Item was approved by TC SET in June, resulting in publication of updated versions of TS 102 221, TS 102 622 and TS 103 818.

In Q2 2023, TC SET approved a new Work Item relating to requirements for the definition of a new smaller form factor for non-removable UICC (as defined in TS 102 671). The work includes requirements for the support of different interfaces (e.g., ISO7816, SWP, I3C) and physical characteristics. An updated version of TS 102 412 was published in November.

The committee also launched work on a new Technical Report to analyze the impact of post-quantum cryptography on TC SET specifications.

During the year ETSI Forge was used as the versioning tool for the ASN.1 (Abstract Syntax Notation One) code definition for all the published versions of TS 103 666‑1, TS 103 666‑2, TS 103 666‑3, TS 103 666‑4, TS 103 834‑1, and TS 103 384‑2; as well as code storage for API for Java Card™ of TS 102 241, TS 102 268 and TS 103 115.

See the full list of all TC SET Work Items currently in development here.