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Infineon Lands Contract for Passport Security Chips

Infineon Technologies said Monday it had landed an order for millions of data storage chips from the U.S. government, which will be featured in a new generation of electronic passports.

The exact size of the contract was not disclosed, but Infineon said it received a "multimillion piece purchase order" for the chips, which are designed to help speed travel by allowing for faster identity verification. 
The government has said it plans to issue some 15 million new electronic passports, sometimes referred to as "smart" passports, within the next year. Germany-based Infineon said it would not be providing all of the chips required for the transition.
The U.S. government began issuing electronic passports last year. Plans call for including the electronic feature in new passports issued to private citizens. The technology consists of a chip embedded in the cover of the passport that can be scanned by reading devices based in airports and at other border crossings.

Using radio frequency identification (RFID) and other technologies, the chips contain all the information normally included in a printed passport, including birth date and other data as well as a digital photograph.

"The United States is helping to set the pace for adoption of more secure travel documents around the world," said Christopher Cook, Managing Director of Infineon Technologies North America, the company's San Jose, Calif.-based U.S. subsidiary.

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