Electronic Passport at work – Synchronizing eID and ePassport solutions successfully
Sweden is a country well known for adopting the latest technological advances. Even before the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) made their recommendations for electronic passports, the Swedish Authorities were investigating three new directions:
Not only did the Swedish National Police Board have to introduce a new biometric passport for a large number of citizens but they also had to create a totally new and highly demanding information processing system. At the same time, they decided to issue secure electronic ID cards for Swedish citizens.
The Swedish authorities selected Gemalto’s comprehensive information processing system for the personalization of biometric passports, E-ID cards and security calculation services. In-house ability for chip inlays and expertise in managing the total value chain were key factors in choosing Gemalto’s ePassport solution. The ePassport itself is a polycarbonate-based data page including a microchip with biometric identifiers.
In addition, the Gemalto personalization system for issuing biometric emergency passports was deployed on a while-you-wait basis. This means that any citizen can apply for a normal biometric passport even at the airport. This concept was developed to better serve Swedish citizens who have forgotten their passport when travelling.
Gemalto’s ePassports are compliant with the ICAO and EU specifications. Gemalto is also supplying Sweden with biometric national eID cards, which contain two microchips; one for travelling within Schengen countries similar to the biometric passport, and the other for identification, for example, when logging onto networks to access electronic services. The new passports and the eID cards store the personal data of each holder alongside their digitally formatted facial image in the microchips.
The security level of Gemalto ePassports is maximized by the combination of polycarbonate and laser engraving which enables several visual security elements.
In October 2005, Sweden became one of the first countries to deploy nationwide passports and national eID cards embedded with a microchip, compliant with the international requirements of the ICAO and the European Union, the world’s most demanding security requirements with protection of privacy for citizens. 800,000 e-passports are to be delivered each year.
The same infrastructure and procedures were maintained for the National ID card as for the ePassport. This has lead to significant savings in terms of equipment, processes, systems and even staff training.