Entrust, Hewlett Packard Partner To Deploy Taiwanese ePassports, Authenticate Biometric Data

Entrust Inc. recently announced it will provide its proven public key infrastructure to the Taiwanese government to help authenticate sensitive biometric information stored on machine readable travel documents (MRTDs) -- also known as ePassports -- which will be available to nearly 23 million citizens by the end of 2008.

"The need to securely identify people moving across national and international borders has never been more important than it is today," said Dr. Poh-Chuan Tan, Public Sector Director, HP Asia Pacific and Japan. "We are excited to be enabling the implementation of biometric epassports in Taiwan to help increase border security without adding to traveller waiting times.

Secured by Entrust Authority Security Manager, the Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan, will leverage the PKI to protect the integrity and validity of personal data (e.g., digitized information, photograph) via Entrust digital signatures for Basic Access Control (BAC). Developed using Hewlett Packard's NIS, Taiwan's ePassport systems plans to provide BAC ePassports to 23 million Taiwan citizens by the second half of 2008.

"Leveraging our public key infrastructure technology, we are proud to secure the most trusted government-issued credentials around the world," said Entrust Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Conner. "The PKI technology leveraged in this specific deployment addresses the needs of the Taiwanese government today, but also provides the ability to migrate to second-generation ePassport solutions as their requirements and border security needs evolve."

The use of biometric ePassports will enable the Taiwanese government to protect the integrity and verify the authenticity of data stored on the MRTDs, as well as help stop the use of forged or tampered travel documents. Initial ePassport projects typically standardize on BAC, which features passive and optional active authentication and is in production in Europe and many parts of the world. Entrust provides BAC ePassport security for a number of top global e-governments, including the U.S., U.K., Slovenia, Singapore, New Zealand and now Taiwan.

A vital tool to help protect both international and domestic borders, ePassport travel documents contain an electronic chip -- smart card or RFID -- that stores information that can be verified against the data on the passport as well as against the individual. Because of the sensitivity of this personal information (e.g., digitized photographs, or other biometrics) the security and integrity of ePassports are critical. To protect these assets, PKI is an integral technology for the security and verification infrastructure of ePassports.

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