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China preps ePassport system

Posted: 22 Oct 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:China ePassport? smart card? hardware?

NXP Semiconductor has been chosen by the China government to supply the chips for the its first ePassport scheme.

The SmartMX security chips use the latest developments in cryptography and security to ensure protection at the hardware and software levels. They enable data to be securely stored on the passport, creating a strong link between the document and its owner. The China government will start issuance of ePassports in 2010, and is planning to replace all paper-based passports. At present over 30 million passports are in circulation within China, therefore substantial roll-out volumes of ePassports are expected in the coming years.

Prior to selecting NXP as its main supplier of ePassport chips, the corresponding ministry of the China government undertook a thorough evaluation of smart card security chips. The selection has been confirmed by a government official in charge of the ePassport scheme in the following statement: "Following this independent review, we were able to determine that NXP's SmartMX technology offered the highest levels of interoperability, reading distances and read times, therefore meeting our exact requirements. Working in collaboration with NXP's distribution partner in China and the official development team of the ePassport scheme, we've developed an operating system to power the Chinese ePassport scheme based on the SmartMX platform."

"We are extremely proud of being selected by the Chinese Government to supply our leading SmartMX products for the upcoming rollout of electronic passports," said Guenter Schlatte, VP and general manager, eGovernment, NXP. "Since the introduction of ePassports, NXP has been at the forefront of developing solutions to enhance border security, safeguard privacy and improve interoperability."

NXP's SmartMX chips comprise a number of unique security features to guard against attack scenarios with light and lasers as well as a dedicated hardware firewall to protect specific sections on the chip. In addition, the ICs provide faster read and write capabilities due to optimized hardware and software. NXP's SmartMX chips can be delivered in the thinnest 250?m chip-package, making it suitable for a wide variety of contact and contactless eGovernment applications.

NXP is currently involved in more than 80 percent of all ePassport schemes, having shipped about 150 million ICs to date. In total, 68 out of 79 countries which have deployed ePassports are using NXP SmartMX chip technology including the US, United Kingdom and Singapore.

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