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A biometric passport (also known as an e-passport or ePassport) is a combined paper and electronic passport that contains biometric information that can be used to authenticate the identity of travelers.
It uses contactless smart card technology, including a microprocessor chip (computer chip) and antenna (for both power to the chip and communication) embedded in the front or back cover, or center page, of the passport. The passport's critical information is both printed on the data page of the passport and stored in the chip. The information stored in the chip includes the name, date of birth, gender, place of birth, dates of passport issuance and expiration, place of issuance, passport number, and a photo image of the bearer.
In addition, e-passports hold a unique identification number and a digital signature to protect the stored data from alteration. E-passports provide two key pieces of information: the digital signature and the digital image of the passport holder. Digital signatures provide a higher level of security for the passport by providing a means to electronically verify the authenticity of the data on the chip, including the traveler’s photograph and biographical information.
- ↑ Public key infrastructure (PKI) is used to authenticate the data stored electronically in the passport chip-making it virtually impossible to forge when all security mechanisms are fully and correctly implemented.
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