US Passports to Carry Digitally Signed Images

    Date24 Jul 2003
    CategoryGovernment
    4160
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    US citizens will be issued with "smart" passports carrying a digitally signed photograph by late 2004. Frank Moss, deputy assistant secretary for Passport Services at the US Department of State, says the first digital passports will be issued in the . . . US citizens will be issued with "smart" passports carrying a digitally signed photograph by late 2004. Frank Moss, deputy assistant secretary for Passport Services at the US Department of State, says the first digital passports will be issued in the US by 26 October 2004. Moss announced details of the plans at the Smart Card Alliance Government Conference and Expo in Virginia last Tuesday.

    The new passports will include an embedded microchip that stores a compressed image of its owner's face. These microchips will be designed to prevent tampering and each digital image will be cryptographically signed to guarantee its authenticity.

    Not everyone is convinced that digital passports are a good idea. Civil liberties groups fear that the introduction of such international identity schemes could permit governments to monitor the activities of citizens in unprecedented detail.

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