While more than 100 million electronic passports have been issued in the last two years, more than 50 countries are still working on deploying the new travel documents, says Barry Kefauver, principal at Fall Hill Associates. “The bottom line is the new generation of passport is the most secure travel document the world has seen,” Kefauver says.
But issues remain, including remedying issues with breeder documents, rewriting the logical data structure and improving use of the biometric, Kefauver says. Government officials also need to do a better job of telling the e-passport story and allaying some of the fears individuals have about the documents. “There needs to be better packaging and telling of the e-passport story,” Kefauver says. “One resolve was we need to get the right story out to the right people in the right way.”
The International Civil Aviation Organization, the organization that creates the rules around passports, held meetings this month to come up with a plan for the future of the documents, Kefauver says. Eventually the logical data structure of the e-passport chip will be rewritten. ICAO also wants to do additional testing on the extended access control feature of the documents. This is an optional feature that provides additional security to the data store on the passport chip.
Kefauver also mentioned that some countries were starting to do biometric matching at application and inspection. Facial recognition biometrics is the main one ICAO chose for the passport and some countries are starting to do automated matching.