An ambitious project involving a consortium of 12 partners from across Europe has developed one of the most sophisticated e-passports yet.
NewPass will form the next generation of e-passports, capable of storing unprecedented levels of personal information thanks to a microcontroller that can hold 10 times more memory than previous e-passport solutions.
Swift and safe
The NewPass technology means that the passports can be processed quickly by the devices produced to read them, ensuring passengers move swiftly through airport security checks.
Thanks to improved encryption and biometric data protection – including the potential for a scan of a passenger's iris to be incorporated – these new e-passports will be extremely difficult to copy or hack.
"We've prototyped the world's fastest and most secure e-passport with a combination of high-processing speed and the most advanced cryptographic mechanisms," said Michael Guerassimo, project coordinator on NewPass from Gemalto's Government Programs Solutions Group.
"The communication speed is really impressive, especially since the e-passport doesn't contain any in-built energy source – the energy to make it work is drawn from the passport reader's magnetic field."
A (very) short history of ePassports
Electronic passports were first used in 1998 but it wasn't until around 10 years ago that they became more widely used. The e-passport market is growing with over 120 countries emitting ePassports. According to our most recent report by June 2017 57% of passports in circulation are electronic.