Governments are increasingly turning to advanced technology like ePassports to secure their borders and its about time. Some nations like the Netherlands and Brazil use ePassports throughout their countries, but in many cases, it seems like the technology is far ahead of the adoption. With 328 ports of entry, more than 7,000 miles of borderlands and 95,000 miles of shoreline, the U.S. cannot rely on physical barricades and security checkpoints alone. ePassports that contain biometric information can be used by border security to quickly verify the identities of travelers without sacrificing accuracy.
Biometric passports include microprocessor chips that are embedded into the cover. Currently, facial, fingerprint, and iris recognition are the three types of biometric methods used in e-Passports. The chip contains a digital file of each biometric feature, and a comparison of features is performed at the time of crossing. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has detailed the specifications that machine readable travel documents should have to create standardization across countries. Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is used to authenticate the traveler’s identity through the passport chip. PKI makes it difficult for identity thieves and other criminals to forge ePassports.
Facial recognition is another component of ePassport technology that can aid with border security. Canada is already planning to use facial recognition technology within their major airports by the end of 2017. This new technology aims to allow passengers to use self-service border kiosks to assist with clearance. As biometric identity verification becomes more reliable and commonplace, consumers can use this technology through their mobile devices or at self-service kiosks in airports.
The omnipresence of biometric technology will enable more thorough screenings in less time. Chip readers can also be used in more commercialized settings, like in the hospitality industry. International travelers can use ePassports at self-service kiosks in hotel lobbies to bypass the language barrier and check into their rooms. ePassports can expedite the check-in process for hotel guests while leaving hospitality staff free to provide more personalized service.
Our new partnership with Mount Airey Group, a provider of identity solutions to federal agencies, launches the industry’s most comprehensive authentication product that will strengthen border control by minimizing the use of fraudulent passports. Acuant CHIPTM – our chip reader technology will be a core component integrated with Mount Airey Group’s Ozone® ePassport validation product.
The comprehensive ePassport solution is designed to handle a host of issues unique to passports with individualized policies for every country, and complies with all ISO and ICAO standards. We expect demand for these solutions to grow with the continued proliferation of ePassports and chip technology for border control as well as for commercial use. The convenience of ePassports makes them optimal for airports, where long lines at security checkpoints are common. Mobilizing chip reading technology in border environments will also enhance the coverage, responsiveness, and flexibility of field operations. Biometric technology is poised to become a vital component to national security and by converging physical and digital identities through ePassports, border security can improve accuracy and effectiveness.