Designed similarly to the standard paper passport, information is available both on a printed page and stored in an embedded chip. If you have received a new passport within the last few years, it most likely has the digital component.
An ePassport uses contactless smart card technology in the form of a microprocessor and antenna embedded in either the cover or in the center page of the booklet. Data is then accessed via Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) devices for identity verification.
The potential for advancement is as unlimited as the technology itself. Biometrics is key in software designed for facial recognition, fingerprint recognition, iris and retinal scans.
While most groups understand the need for advanced security, there are opponents of this type of technology. Privacy activists in many countries question how the information that is contained on the data chips will be used.
Another potential concern is whether the data stored is accessible with other types of wireless devices. Digital encryption is one method of protecting the information, but many security specialists feel it falls far below a good safety standard.
While a number of questions remain about ePassport usage, the International Civil Aviation Organization concluded that verification of the PKI certificates can provide authorities with an ID source that is genuine and unaltered. Future technological advancements may correct some of the possible shortcomings.
Article Written By Darla Ferrara
Writing since 1999, Darla Ferrara is an award-winning author who specializes in health, diet, fitness and computer technology. She has been published in "Mezzo Magazine" and Diet Spotlight, as well as various online magazines. Ferrara studied biology and emergency medical technology at the University of Nebraska and Southeast Community College.