German government selects Philips technology for national smart passport roll-out

Jun 02, 2005

Royal Philips Electronics today announced that the German passport printing authority, the Bundesdruckerei GmbH, has selected on behalf of German Ministry of Interior its contactless smart card chip for use in the country’s smart passports. Based on sophisticated encryption technology the highly secure chip will be used to hold personal information on the passport holder, reducing fraud and forgery of travel documents and increasing security for travelers. Philips is the first volume supplier of such chips for smart passports.

Driven by the United States’ visa waiver program, which requires visitors to the country to present a machine readable passport when visiting the country for less than 90 days, governments around the world are implementing smart passports. Philips is working closely with a network of national governments worldwide to develop solutions designed around current and future security needs. The company is global leader in the development and manufacture of highly secure contactless and contact smart card chip solutions for security systems and payment applications such as banking and credit cards.

“As governments around the world look to implement smart passports, the decision by the Bundesdruckerei GmbH is a strong endorsement of Philips’ expertise in this arena,” said Reinhard Kalla, vice president and general manager, Business Line Identification, Philips Semiconductors. “Smart passports enable greater levels of security than those provided by current passports, increasing safety for travelers and enabling governments to better protect their borders."

The Philips chip used in the project has been certified by the German Federal Office of Information Security (Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik), the central IT security service provider for the German government. It has received the organization’s Common Criteria EAL5+ certification, the highest level of security certification awarded to any secure contactless smart card solution available. It also exceeds the specifications for smart passports set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). As the system provider for the project, Philips is working with a variety of partners to implement the scheme, including Sokymat GmbH and T-Systems, who is responsible for the operating system, including the on-chip passport application.

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