Preparations for biometric chip in EU passports

By EDRi · July 16, 2003

International technical standards bodies (ISO) and civil aviation bodies (ICAO) are preparing plans for ‘globally interoperable machine readable passports’. The technology should consist of RFIDs (Radio Frequency Identification) that contain ‘details that enable the machine-assisted identification of the presenter’. These technical descriptions point at passports that can transmit biometric data over a radio frequency.

The organizations aim at ‘fast-track deployment’ presumably because of an October 2004 deadline. By that time the USA demand biometric data in passports issued by countries whose citizens normally don’t need visa for travelling to the States, such as most EU countries. The US Enhanced Border Security and Visa Reform Act of 2002 states that those countries must have a program to issue “machine-readable passports that are tamper-resistant and incorporate biometric identifiers that comply with applicable biometric identifiers standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization”.

During the June 2003 EU summit in Greece the European leaders already decided to develop a ‘coherent approach on biometric identifiers’ and a ‘harmonized solutions for documents’.

Cards and personal identification standards committee

Meeting document regarding contact-less chip technology for machine readable passports

Wenn die Pässe Bio-Daten funken (09.07.2003)

EU Summit: Agreement on ‘harmonised’ biometric identification linked to EU databases

(Contribution by Maurice Wessling, EDRI-member Bits of Freedom)