Feds put a fortress in your pocket

DHS, State integrate physical, electronic security into passports.

The U.S. passport is the most valued travel and identity document in the world. The Homeland Security and State departments want to make it the most fraud-resistant one, too.

Following DHS requirements, State officials are releasing the first completely redesigned passport in more than a decade.

The new passport will include physical and electronic safeguards to stymie tampering or use by impostors, said Angela Aggeler, a spokeswoman at State's Bureau of Consular Affairs.

The new passport will have a digital photo printed on the first page, replacing laminated paper photos on the inside front cover of older passports, Aggeler said.

A small symbol on the new passport's front cover and a tiny bump in the upper left corner of its rear page are the only indicators that the passport contains a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip with biographical data and a digital photo, she said.

The chip holds 64K of data, but less than half of that will be used initially, Aggeler said. The extra storage is for other information or features that the department may decide to add later, she said. "It's a continuous effort to build a better mousetrap," she said.

The RFID chip upgrades how State checks passport data, Aggeler said. Since 1998, the bottom edge of the passport's primary information page has included two lines of machine-readable code containing the holder's passport number, name and nationality, she said. When scanned, the code contacts the main State database and summons that person's information for an officer to compare with the physical document, she said.

In addition to containing personal information, the RFID chip will include a mathematical fingerprint of the data, said Chris Voice, vice president for technology at Entrust. The department will use strong public-key infrastructure cryptography and Entrust's software to create a hash, or digital signature, which proves that information on the chip came from the department, he said. Any attempt to manipulate the passport's data would produce a different hash.

The document readers compute their own hash from the passport data and determine whether State made the passport's hash, Voice said. The reader then compares the hash with a public digital certificate at State to verify the passport hash's authenticity, he said.

State officials are testing the new technology in passports for travelers from the 27 countries in the Visa Waiver Program. Citizens of those countries do not need travel visas.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at U.S. ports of entry will scan the chips as part of their primary inspection, said Jim Williams, director of the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program. The DHS program screens foreign visitors entering and exiting the country to identify potential terrorists.

By Oct. 26, 2006, all entry officers will have a scanner at their stations, because Congress has required all new passports from visa-waiver countries to contain the chips by then, Williams said.

No legislative deadline exists for incorporating the technologies into U.S. passports, Aggeler said. State officials would like to include chips in diplomatic and official passports by this fall, she said. They would start adding RFID chips to regular passports next year, and ideally, all new U.S. passports would have the technology by the end of 2006, she said.


**********

Mark your calendars

Countries in the Visa Waiver Program must augment their passports by Oct. 26 to meet the next big deadline.

On that day, all citizens from visa-waiver countries who wish to enter the United States must present passports with digital photos.

Oct. 26 is also the deadline for the countries to submit plans to the Homeland Security Department for issuing chip-enabled passports.

Countries will have to submit their first batch of chip-enabled e-passports by Sept. 1, 2006, for the United States to recognize the documents by Oct. 26, 2006.

DHS officials said they will work with officials from visa-waiver countries at an upcoming technical conference in September to ensure that the new e-passports work.

— Michael Arnone

NEXT STORY: Croom takes over DISA, JTF-GNO

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.