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China taps Infineon MCUs for e-Passport

Posted: 16 Nov 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:electronic passports? China ePassport? microcontroller?

The China government has selected Infineon Technologies AG microcontrollers for the country's electronic passports.

As of Q1 10, all new Chinese passports will be issued as electronic passports. The China government estimates that beginning in the first full year of the roll-out, about 6.5 million electronic passports will be handed out annually to citizens, diplomats and government workers. In total, there are currently more than 30 million passports in circulation in China, which are usually valid for ten years.

In China, two ministries are involved in electronic passport programs: the Ministry of Public Security is responsible for citizens, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for diplomats and government workers. All China electronic passports include a security microcontroller in the back cover that stores, securely encrypted, the same information about the bearer's identity that is printed on the document, such as the bearer's name, date of birth, and photo, and the passport's validity period and number.

Also, Infineon is the sole chip supplier for the electronic passport programs in Hong Kong and Macao. Hong Kong, with its approximately nine million inhabitants, annually issued about 1.2 million electronic passports since 2007. And Macao, with its population of about 300,000, handed out about 100,000 electronic passports per year since the beginning of 2008. Infineon also exclusively supplies the security MCUs for Hong Kong's and Macao's national electronic identity cards issued to citizens as well as permanent and non-permanent residents since 2004. These identity cards enable identification and other services such as automatic border control and e-government.

"We are deeply honored by the trust awarded to Infineon by the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as both the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administration Regions to be the silicon partner for their electronic passport programs," said Helmut Gassel, president of the chip card and security division at Infineon. "Security being a key area for Infineon we feel confirmed in our efforts to provide high-quality, superior security products that successfully passed the world's most stringent security tests."

Roughly every second electronic government ID document (not including the China National ID card project) issued in 2008 incorporated a security chip of Infineon. Government ID applications include electronic documents, such as passports, national ID, health cards, drivers licenses and social security cards. Infineon's products are currently used in the public domain of about one third of the 192 UN member states, which represent a total population of more than three billion people.

SLE 66CLX800PE specs
Specifically designed for use in electronic passports, identity cards, e-government cards and other high-security applications, the SLE 66CLX800PE security MCU features a crypto-coprocessor and provides advanced performance and high execution speeds of up to 848Kbit/s even if elevated encryption and decryption operations have to be calculated.

The SLE 66CLX800PE features 80Kbyte of EEPROM, 240Kbyte of ROM and 6Kbyte of RAM. With its tailored set of EEPROM/ROM and RAM memory sizes, the SLE 66CLX800PE adheres to the ICAO requirements for the secure storage of the biometric and personal data in travel documents.

The SLE 66CLX800PE is certified according to Common Criteria EAL 5+ high (BSI-PP-0002 protection profile) security certification. Infineon's security MCUs build on underlying hardware-based integral security, with data encryption, memory firewall system and other security mechanisms to safeguard the privacy of data.

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