US names the day for biometric passports

A senior US government official has laid out detailed plans for the timing and form of US government issued biometric passports. Frank Moss, deputy assistant secretary for Passport Services, presented his organisation's plans to evolve to a new, more secure "intelligent document" from today's paper-based passports at the Smart Card Alliance's Government Conference and Expo conference last week.

"Our goal is to begin production by October 26, 2004," Moss announced. Current plans call for the new passport books to include a contactless smart chip based on the 14443 standard, with a minimum of 32 Kbytes of EEPROM storage. The chip will contain a compressed full-face image for use as a biometric. European biometric passports, by contrast, are planned to feature both retinal and fingerprint recognition biometrics on their smart cards.

For US passports, the image and the passport information stored on the contactless chip will be digitally signed to ensure the integrity of both the data and the passport itself.

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News source: The Reg

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