Company’s SmartMX chips power more than 80 per cent of the world’s smart passports

Imprimerie Nationale is the latest passport producer to select secure contactless smart card chip technology from Philips for integration into its new electronic passports. The French e-passports, launched within 5 weeks, are initially being issued in Hauts-de-Seine, Paris and will be rolled out across the country by the end of June 2006. Up to 20,000 e-passports are produced a day to meet the demand. The new passports have been issued to comply with US border regulations – or Visa Waiver Program (VWP) – which means that some countries’ passports have to store a digital image for visitors wishing to enjoy visa-free travel to the country.

The Common Criteria EAL5+ security certified Philips SmartMX chip technology embedded in the new French passports is secured by highly advanced encryption hardware and physical hacking counter measures to meet the sophisticated demands of security-sensitive markets such as eGovernment and banking. It will be used to protect and store unique passport holder information, reducing fraud and forgery of travel documents and enhancing security for travellers.

“Imprimerie Nationale took up the challenge to launch the new French electronic passport within five weeks (between the go from the French government end the delivery of the first passports). In order to mitigate deployment risks linked to such a short delay we had to seek for reliable partners and mature technology. NXP and the SmartMX were fulfilling those requirements; they brought their stone to our success. I want to stress another important point, we succeed without any bargain on security and quality, we are completely committed to providing French travellers with the highest levels of document and system security, here again the NXP technology met our level of expectation”, said L de la Cochetière CEO of Imprimerie Nationale. “Interoperability and security of electronic travel documents are must-haves for governments and are crucial to ensuring public acceptance of this new means of secure identification. Any e-passport project must deliver both. The selection of NXP secure technology for the French e-passports is a rousing testimony that we can deliver both,” said Marc de Jong, executive vice president and general manager, Automotive and Identification, NXP Semiconductors. “We believe technology should simplify consumers lives, and e-passports are a good example of how that can be achieved. Electronic passports enable greater levels of security than those provided by current passports, boost traveller safety, and shorten the amount of time spent in passport control queues while also allowing governments to better protect their borders.”

NXPs technology is the industry’s leading choice for secure e-Passports with a market share of over 80%; it encompasses currently 28 governments, including Germany, Austria, New Zealand and France. NXP has been instrumental in developing passport chip solutions to meet the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) standards, designed around current and future security needs for travellers and governments.