- What is an electronic passport?
- What is a biometric?
- Why choose facial biometric?
- How will you obtain my facial biometric?
- Is Ireland bound by the recent EU Commission Regulation which requires that Members State include fingerprints in their ePassports by June 2009?
- Why is Ireland introducing biometrics into our passports?
- Can a previously issued passport still be used for travel as long as it is still valid?
- Will someone be able to read or access the information on tha chip wothout my knowledge?
- Can the information on the chip be altered and how is the information protected from being accessed by an authorised reader?
- What will be stored on the chip in the passport?
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The Electronic Passport (e-passport)
An Electronic Passport is the same as a traditional passport with the addition of a small integrated circuit (or “chip”) embedded in the photo page. The chip will securely store biographical information which is visually displayed on the data page of the passport and a digital image of the photograph which will facilitate the use of facial recognition technology at ports-of-entry.
The chip technology allows the information stored in an Electronic Passport to be read by special chip readers at a close distance. The chip incorporates digital signature technology to verify the authenticity of the data stored on the chip.
Biometric Technology makes use of the unique biological features we all have. Examples of biometric identifiers include facial measurements and characteristics, fingerprints and iris patterns.
The Irish e-passport will facilitate facial measurements which can be used with facial recognition technology to verify the identity of the bearer. At present the Irish Government have no plans to include fingerprints in the passport.
Facial biometrics were chosen by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as the most appropriate primary biometric for passports after extensive study.
The Irish Passport Office will be able to use good quality passport photographs to record facial biometrics. The photograph guidelines issued by the passport office explain what types of photographs are acceptable. These guidelines are based on internationally accepted standards. It is important for passport applicants to follow the guidelines carefully as passport applications will be delayed if the photographs do not meet the required standards.
No, Ireland is not bound by this regulation as it constitutes a development of the Schengen acquis in which Ireland does not take part. The Government does not intend to include the second biometric identifier, (fingerprints) in our ePassports. We will however, continue to engage with the Commission on the development of the standards.
Ireland is introducing biometrics in its passports to:
- comply with the latest international standards established for secure travel documents
- ensure that Irish citizens can continue to avail of visa free travel to the United States
- help fight passport fraud and forgery
- facilitate more robust border controls and in time, automated immigration checks.
Yes. Previously issued passports that are still valid can be used for travel.
This type of unauthorised access is sometimes referred to as skimming or eavesdropping.
There will be devices to prevent skimming and eavesdropping of data in the Irish e-passport. (Basic Access Control (BAC) will be employed). In the case of the electronic passport, characters from the printed machine-readable zone of the passport must be read first in order to unlock the chip for reading. Thus, when an electronic passport is presented to an inspector, the inspector must scan the printed lines of data in order to be able to read the data on the chip.
The new passports will use Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology that locks the chip which prevents it from being altered. It also prevents the chip from being accessed by an unauthorised reader thus, providing a higher level of security for the passport.
The chip will contain the digitised facial image and personal details of the passport holder which appear on the data page.