Biometric Passport Control: No Place To Hide

Sep 25, 2007
Biometric Passport Control: No Place To Hide

Siemens is making border crossings in Europe more secure through biometric systems that store individual characteristics such as fingerprints and facial photos on a chip integrated into a passport.

The systems have already been installed in several countries. The data is read at a passport checkpoint and compared with a live digital photo of the traveler, thereby making it practically impossible to travel with a false passport. The system software was developed in the Biometrics Center in Graz, Austria.

Switzerland introduced biometric passports in September 2006, and Siemens IT Solutions and Services recently provided a solution for producing so-called e-passports to the Czech Republic. To this end, SIS equipped some 230 passport control stations in that country with around 600 photo stands, passport scanning machines, and printers, as well as corresponding IT systems. In the future, an ultra-thin RFID chip equipped with an antenna will be embedded into Czech passports.

The chip will store personal data such as the passport holder’s name and date of birth, as well as a digital photo and fingerprint that will be read by special scanning devices at border crossings. The traveler’s actual fingerprint will be read by a fingerprint scanner, while his or her photograph will be taken by a digital camera and then compared with the picture stored on the chip. One of the criteria the camera system will use here will be the unique positioning of each person’s eyes.

Siemens IT Solutions installed a border control system with fingerprint scanners, cameras, and high-performance IT equipment in Croatia last spring. Along with personalized data, Croatian border police can now compare the validity of visas with information stored in a central database at the Interior Ministry. The system can also use cameras to register license plates and vehicle models at border crossings, thereby making it easier to identify stolen cars.

The new system is already being used at the border crossing in Bajakov and at Zagreb Airport. Croatia is one of the first countries in Europe now able to process e-passports. The Siemens system will make it possible to implement new automatic biometric border control solutions in Europe based on RTP (Registered Traveler Programs). Croatia will gradually be followed by other countries, as all EU member states and Schengen signatories have pledged to include digital photos and fingerprints in their passports by 2009.

Source: Siemens

Explore further: Sistine chapel dazzles after technological makeover

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Safer swiping while voting and globetrotting

Apr 15, 2010

Since 2007, every new U.S. passport has been outfitted with a computer chip. Embedded in the back cover of the passport, the "e-passport" contains biometric data, electronic fingerprints and pictures of the ...

Chips in official IDs raise privacy fears

Jul 11, 2009

Climbing into his Volvo, outfitted with a Matrics antenna and a Motorola reader he'd bought on eBay for $190, Chris Paget cruised the streets of San Francisco with this objective: To read the identity cards ...

Recommended for you

Sistine chapel dazzles after technological makeover

4 hours ago

High above the altar in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel, the halo around Jesus Christ's head in Michelangelo's famous frescoes shines with a brighter glow, thanks to a revolutionary new lighting system.

Free urban data—what's it good for?

20 hours ago

Cities around the world are increasingly making urban data freely available to the public. But is the content or structure of these vast data sets easy to access and of value? A new study of more than 9,000 ...

Rice team sets sights on better voting machine

Oct 27, 2014

At the urging of county election officials in Austin, Texas, a group of Rice University engineers and social scientists has pulled together a team of U.S. experts to head off a little-known yet looming crisis ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.