Sweden and Norway have begun to deploy biometric-enabled passports produced by Setec, a Gemplus company. Currently, according to Setec, these are the only two countries in the world which have started the mandatory, nationwide deployment of biometric passports designed to meet international standards.
Setec and Gemplus’s Security Products Meet the World’s Most Demanding Security Requirements – ICAO and EU
VANTAA, Finland – Setec, Northern Europe’s leading developer and manufacturer of visual and electronic card products, and a Gemplus company, recently announced that it has begun the mass delivery of the new biometric passports and national identity cards with a function for electronic services (EID cards) for Sweden. Setec also said it has begun to manufacture Norway’s biometric passports. Currently, Setec manufactures and personalizes conventional passports for Denmark and Finland.
The Norwegian and Swedish biometric passports are developed and manufactured according to the world’s most demanding security requirements of the ICAO, the International Civil Aviation Organization, as well as those of European Union. The holder’s personal data and digitally formatted facial image are stored in microchips within the actual passport.
In October 2005, Sweden began to deploy nationwide passports embedded with a micro-chip, compliant with the international requirements of the ICAO, International Civil Aviation Organization, and the European Union. Alongside the actual passport, Setec is also providing a comprehensive information processing system for the personalization of the biometric passports and EID cards and for the security calculation services.
This follows the 2004 multi-year agreement between the Swedish authorities and Setec’s Swedish joint-venture AB Svenska Pass to deliver biometric passports.
This agreement also includes the delivery of the national Swedish EID cards. These cards contain two microchips; one for traveling purposes within Schengen countries similar to the biometric passport, and the other for identification, for example when logging onto networks to access various electronic services. The value of the agreement is in excess of EUR100 million.
The new passports and the EID cards will initially store in the micro-chips the personal data of each holder along side their digitally formatted facial image. Fingerprints may be included in a second phase.
While in Norway…
In the 30 million Euro Norwegian contract, Setec is managing the entire passport production chain, from personalization to delivery. As of October 2005, all the conventional passports in Norway have microchips with biometric identifiers. Currently, Norway is one of only two countries in the world, alongside Sweden, that has started the mandatory, nationwide deployment of biometric passports for their citizens, compliant with international standards.
The passport booklets are manufactured by Setec in Finland and the booklets are personalized by Setec’s subsidiary, Setec Norge AS, established in Oslo, Norway, earlier this year.
Setec won the international tender for the Norwegian passports in April this year. The three-year agreement with the Norwegian authorities includes an option for two additional years.
Pekka Eloholma, President and Chief Executive Officer, Setec, explains “The timetable for the Norwegian passport project was very demanding as we had to develop a new product, create a delivery and personalization process and establish our new subsidiary, Setec Norge AS, within the six months after winning the bid. However, thanks to the flexibility of our entire organization and its ability for top performance as well as the constructive cooperation with the customer, the deliveries of the Norwegian passports have begun and we are very happy with the result.”
Besides Norway, Setec also has begun to manufacture biometric passports for Sweden and has been chosen to deliver also their technology to several other countries including Denmark. Currently, Setec manufactures and personalizes conventional, i.e. visual passports for Denmark and Finland.
Setec has been a Gemplus company since June 2005. The combined references and contract volume makes Gemplus the undisputed leader in the electronic passport and identity card market.
About Gemplus and Setec
Gemplus International S.A. is the world’s leading player in the smart card industry in both revenue and total shipments. It has sold over 5.5 billion smart cards.
Setec, acquired by Gemplus in 2005, develops, manufactures and delivers products that require extreme security, such as biometric and visual passports, electronic and visual ID cards, EMV cards and SIM cards. Setec’s major customers are public authorities, banks, and telecom operators. The company has operations in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Poland.