Live test of ePassports begins at San Francisco International

Published 17 January 2006

In second live test of its kind, four countries cooperate in testing ePassports, their readers, and the software which operates the system

A live test of e-passports which contain contactless chips with biographic and biometric information, and the readers capable of reading these e-passports, began on Sunday, 15 January, at Terminal G at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The test is a collaborative effort between the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. It will run through 15 April 2006. Participants in the test include citizens of Australia and New Zealand who have been issued the new e-passports, Singapore Airlines’ crew and officials holding trial e-passports, and U.S. diplomatic and official e-passport holders. The test will assess the operational aspects of using new equipment and software to read and verify the information embedded in e-passports. Participants will present their e-passports when arriving in the United States at SFO, at Changi Airport in Singapore, or at Sydney Airport in Australia.

The e-passports tested are enabled with a security feature known as Basic Access Control (BAC), which helps prevent the unauthorized reading, or “skimming” (also known as “digital pickpocketing”) of information from e-passports. This is the second live test conducted between the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.

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