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NXP to supply e-passport ICs to U.S.

Posted: 07 Sep 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:NXP? Philips Semiconductor? e-passport? security? chip?

The U.S. State Department disclosed that it has selected NXP as one of its suppliers of secure semiconductor technology for an electronic passport program.

NXP, the newly independent semiconductor company founded by Philips, is currently being used in e-passport programs in 30 countries. The company will supply chip technology to smart card manufacturer Gemalto, which is overseeing secure smart card packages for U.S. e-passports.

E-passports contain secure, contactless smart chip technology. They will be rolled out in the United States in early 2007.

The chip will store the same data currently found on the photo page of a passport. It will also store a digital photograph. Due to privay concerns, the range of readers used with contactless smart chips will be only be a few centimeters. Special shielding material also will be used to prevent communications with the chip when the e-passport cover is closed.

The secure chip will include a 72Kbyte Eeprom capable of storing biometric information such as fingerprints. The IC has a data retention time of 20 years.

- Nicolas Mokhoff
EE Times

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