France has chosen Philips’ SmartMX chip to power its new contactless electronic passports scheduled for roll-out by the end of June. The passports are designed to comply with the U.S. government’s Visa Waiver program which requires biometric data and a digital image. The passports also include encryption capabilities and physical hacking counter measures.
Company’s SmartMX hips used in more than 80 percent of the world’s smart passports
EINDHOVEN, The Netherlands–Royal Philips Electronics announced that France is the latest country to select secure contactless smart card chip technology from Philips for integration into its new electronic passports. The e-passports are initially being issued in Hauts-de-Seine, West of Paris and will be rolled out across the country by the end of June 2006. The French government is to produce 20,000 e-passports a day to meet the June deadline. The new passports have been issued to comply with US border regulations – or Visa Waiver Program (VWP) – which means that some countries’ passports have to store biometric data and a digital image for visitors wishing to enjoy visa-free travel to the country.
The Common Criteria EAL5+ security certified Philips SmartMX chip technology embedded in the new French passports is secured by highly advanced encryption hardware and physical hacking counter measures to meet the sophisticated demands of security-sensitive markets such as eGovernment and banking. It will be used to protect and store unique passport holder information, reducing fraud and forgery of travel documents and enhancing security for travellers.
“Interoperability and security of electronic travel documents are must-haves for governments and are crucial to ensuring public acceptance of this new means of secure identification. Any e-passport project must deliver both. The selection of Philips secure technology for the French e-passports is a rousing testimony that we can deliver both,” said Marc de Jong, executive vice president and general manager, Automotive and Identification, Philips Semiconductors. “We believe technology should simplify consumers lives, and e-passports are a good example of how that can be achieved. Electronic passports enable greater levels of security than those provided by current passports, boost traveller safety, and shorten the amount of time spent in passport control queues while also allowing governments to better protect their borders.”
Philips technology is the industry’s leading choice for secure e-Passports with a market share of over 80%; it encompasses currently 28 governments, including Germany, Austria, New Zealand and France. Philips has been instrumental in developing passport chip solutions to meet the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) standards, designed around current and future security needs for travellers and governments.
About the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
The US Department of Homeland Security announced that as of 26 October 2006, all persons travelling under the auspices of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) must present a machine-readable passport (MRP) to travel to the US without a visa.
VWP countries include: Andorra; Australia; Austria; Belgium; Brunei; Denmark; Finland; France; Germany; Iceland; Ireland; Italy; Japan; Liechtenstein; Luxembourg; Monaco; New Zealand; Norway; Portugal; San Marino; Singapore; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; The Netherlands and United Kingdom.
About Philips SmartMX passport chips
Philips SmartMX passport chips have received the highest level of security certification awarded to secure contactless smart card solutions available – the Common Criteria EAL5+ certification by the German Federal Office of Information Security. It fully supports and even exceeds the specifications for smart passports set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The high-performance chip features Philips’ unique ultra low power handshaking technology, enabling an exceptional operating range by fully meeting the ISO/IEC14443 standard power range requirements. The experience of over 450 millions contactless Philips modules in the market is the basis for the expertise on contactless IC applications.
The 72Kbyte EEPROM memory, high-security chip is specifically designed to fulfill the needs of eGovernment projects, with its high memory capacity able to hold biometric information such as fingerprints and facial images. Additionally, the IC is highly reliable, with a data retention time of 20 years that doubles the industry standard.
About Royal Philips Electronics
Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands (NYSE:PHG)(AEX:PHI) is one of the world’s biggest electronics companies and Europe’s largest, with sales of EUR 30.4 billion in 2005. With activities in the three interlocking domains of healthcare, lifestyle and technology and 161,500 employees in more than 60 countries, it has market leadership positions in medical diagnostic imaging and patient monitoring, color television sets, electric shavers, lighting and silicon system solutions. News from Philips is located at www.semiconductors.philips.com.