Cryptomathic has released a new product that the company says will accelerate the speed of inspecting electronic passports.
There have been concerns about the time it will take for e-passports to be read at border checkpoints with extended access control (EAC) systems. EAC is an additional security protocol that will be used on European Union passports next year to protect the extra biometric data stored on the travel document.
“As the EU has mandated that all its issuing authorities will introduce second generation e-passports containing fingerprint biometrics by June of 2009, border inspectors are increasingly concerned that it will be impossible to electronically process every traveler within a reasonable time without radical increases in staffing levels,” says Mike Bond, security director at Cryptomathic UK. “And they have every right to be concerned: it can take as long as ten seconds to read out all biometric data from some e-passports, which would result in immense delays at international border crossings. The travelers are disrupted and so is security.”
Cryptomathic’s ID Inspector portfolio, the solution that enables inspection systems to store elements of a traveler’s biometric details, will permit Basic Access Control e-passports to be read almost instantaneously, while increasing the speed of inspecting Extended Access Control e-passports by a factor of four.
The Cryptomathic solution uses a different type of caching mechanism, a storage area that holds an encrypted version of the e-passport biometric data. When the e-passport has its initial contact with the border control station, the biometric data is transferred from the chip into the inspection system, and at the same time a unique key is calculated from the e-passport chip which is used to encrypt the stored data.
The storage key is then deleted from the memory of the border control system to make it impossible to retrieve the stored data. In order to recreate the decryption key for the record and view the biometric data, the original e-passport document must be connected to the inspection system.