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article imageNew e-passport harnesses digital technology for multi-country use

By Tim Sandle     Sep 13, 2017 in Technology
Amsterdam - The Dutch technology company Gemalto developed a biometric passport that can be used by thirty different countries. Now the company is pushing ahead with digital passport technology to combine stronger security with enhanced traveler experience.
The new passport design allows for the inclusion of eVisa information plus smartphone-based digital identification. The passport allows for fully automated, biometric self-service passenger facilitation.
The current Gemalto passport consists of polycarbonate data pages, visible as well as hidden document security features. The passport is designed to be used with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) compliant embedded software. One of the responsibilities of ICAO (a United Nations agency) is to design the specifications of passports and passport photos. ICAO is currently working on the Logical Data Structure version 2, which is the next evolution of the ePassport standards.
Over the past few years Gemalto has made a contribution to the definition of international ePassport standards, following the introduction of its ePassport in 2005. The company now has a 57 percent market share of all passports in circulation. Gemalto is an international digital security company that provides software applications, secure personal devices such as smart cards and tokens, and managed services. Additionally the company is the world’s largest manufacturer of SIM cards.
mroach (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Key to the Gemalto design is the incorporation of a secure microprocessor that stores the user’s personal data together with a digital photograph, which is essential for digital facial recognition. This technology has led to an increase in automated, self-service airport services for passengers. In turn, this technology helps to reduce the time spent waiting for immigration control and boarding. The technology thus offers a business-to-business solution for airports and security services.
The Gemalto design does not stand still, and the company has outlined the next stage of its ePassport. The new generation of the ePassport will digitally store travel information like eVisas together with digital entry and exit stamps. This will further improve and simplify immigration control.
Other developments highlighted include:
Implementation of tamper-proof polycarbonate data pages, which lowers fraud risk.
The extension of digital identity credentials. Sensitive ePassport data will be able to be stored on the holder's smartphone to create a digitally secure companion to the passport. One project is to store information from Australian passports in the cloud, which should grant Australian citizens the opportunity for document-free travel between Australia and New Zealand.
Further advancements with biometrics to enable the adoption of ‘smart borders’ and ‘smart airports’.
Improved security and protection from fraud through combining tactile and optical features. Here different technologies and the use of material and inks not available in the public domain lead to a complex design that is difficult to copy.
Such advances offer improved security and an easier passenger experience, something that will appeal particularly to the business traveler.
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