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The proposed U.S. Electronic Passport is the same as a regular passport with the addition of a small contactless integrated circuit (computer chip) embedded in the back cover. The chip will securely store the same data visually displayed on the photo page of the passport, and will additionally include a digital photograph. The inclusion of the digital photograph will enable biometric comparison, through the use of facial recognition technology at international borders. The U.S. “e-passport” will also have a new look, incorporating additional anti-fraud and security features.
Passports without chips will still be valid for the full extent of their validity period.
A biometric or biometric identifier is a measureable physical or behavioral characteristic of an individual, which can be used to verify the identity of that individual or to compare against other entries when stored in a database. Biometrics include face recognition, fingerprints and iris scans. The U.S. Electronic Passport will use the digital image of the passport photograph as the biometric identifier that will be used with face recognition technology to verify the identity of the passport bearer. For more information on biometrics, please consult
On December 30, 2005, the United States began to issue Electronic Passports. It is anticipated that all new full validity U.S. passports will be issued as electronic passports by the end of 2006.
Can a request be made for a new passport to be issued without a chip?
No. Once all Passport Agencies have been equipped to issue the new passport, all newly issued passports will be electronic.
Will someone be able to read or access the information on the chip without my knowledge (also known as skimming)?
This is often referred to as “skimming,” which is the act of obtaining data from an unknowing end user who is not willingly submitting the sample at that time. An example could be secretly reading data while in close proximity to a user on a bus. In this application, the chip is designed to operate within 10 centimeters (less than 4 inches) of a chip reader using appropriate public keys. Experts indicate that the information on the chip cannot be easily accessed surreptitiously. Even so, Passport Services plans to incorporate a reliable anti-skimming feature and Basic Access Control to mitigate the threat of skimming in all electronic passports.
To prevent skimming and eavesdropping of data, Basic Access Control (BAC) is employed. BAC is similar to a PIN used in ATM or credit card transactions. In the case of the electronic passport, characters from the printed machine-readable zone of the passport must be read first in order to unlock the chip for reading. Thus, when an electronic passport is presented to an inspector, the inspector must scan the printed lines of data in order to be able to read the data on the chip. To further protect against skimming, the U.S. e-passport will include a shielding material in the passport cover that will make unauthorized reading of the passport very difficult from any appreciable distance as long as the passport is closed.
Facial recognition can be defeated, however for passport controls you can force people to take off hats, glasses and pull hair back. What bothers me is that facial recognition is the easiest way to profile people from a distance. By creating a database of facial images, that could then be compared as the test done at one superbowl not too long ago, what is to say they wont start tapping into muni cameras and feeding it the data from the passports?
WASHINGTON - Foreign travelers from friendly nations won’t be immediately asked to show fingerprint and iris scan data when entering the United States but could have to in upcoming years under Bush administration plans announced Wednesday
Over the last two years, the UK Passport Service (UKPS) has successfully implemented a range of new procedures and systems to prevent identity and passport fraud. In 2006, we are launching one of our most important counter-fraud initiatives, the Biometric Passport.
Do I need a Biometric Passport to enter the US?
The US Senate announced on 15 June 2005 a one-year extension (to 26 October 2006) to their requirement for biometric passports. This means that the digital passports that we currently issue (machine-readable, with a digital image) will continue to meet the criteria of the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) and most British Citizens will not require a US visa. Please visit www.usembassy.org.uk or www.fco.gov.uk for more detailed information about US visa and immigration rules.
Originally posted by GrOuNd_ZeRo
What countries have banned .gov sites? I never had problems viewing any .gov sites anywhere i've been.
Also, I don't think the US passports are THE most desired, I think Canadian, Dutch and possibly some Scandinavian passports are more desired by immigrants because they have a much bigger social wellfare/health etc system that they can leech off of.
Why not just throw your electronic passport in the microwave for 10 seconds or leave it on an electro-magnet for a while.
Actually Malaysia issued these types of passports since 1998.