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© shanaka wijesooriya dreamstime.com Components | August 05, 2013

Infineon's security chips in Kosovo's passports

Infineon Technologies AG is supplying the security chips for the world's first electronic passports incorporating the Supplemental Access Control (SAC) protocol, which enhances protection against unauthorized access and possible abuse of personal data.
The passports, issued by the Republic of Kosovo, contain Infineon security chips of the SLE 78 product family with ”Integrity Guard,” which offers the highest level of data security over the long term and are ideally suited for sovereign documents with a long period of validity. Germany-based Giesecke & Devrient manufactures the electronic passport solution for the Republic of Kosovo.

"Our security chips create the technological pre-requisite for more data security and provide trust in electronic passports and eIDs on the part of public authorities and citizens," says Carsten Loschinsky, Head of Business Line Government ID for the Chip Card & Security Division of Infineon Technologies.

To fulfill continually increasing security requirements for contactless access to data stored on the passport, the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) now recommends use of the SAC protocol. In contrast to the earlier generation BAC (Basic Access Control) protocol, SAC is based on asymmetric encryption. Within the EU, SAC will be mandatory for electronic passports issued from December 2014. As the first European country to comply with the new requirement, the Republic of Kosovo will issue 800,000 electronic passports.

According to current estimates from market research firm IHS, roughly 192 million electronic passports are in circulation in Europe. In this region, over 30 million new electronic passports are issued each year.

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