Glitches in the Growth: E-passport


What are E-passports?

E-passports and electronic passports are embedded with an electronic chip that identifies the person with the same information as issued on the data page.

E-passports are considered a more reliable option than plastic ones as they are enabled with advanced security features.

How does an E-passport Work?

The e-passports are enabled with chips that contain the biometric data of the passport holder. The data contains a signature and photograph that identifies the person at the airport.  The e-passport reduces the hassles as the verification of the data is all done through scanners.

Moreover, an e-passport carries a digital signature derived from the issuing State’s security certificates referred to as the Country Signing Certification Authority (CSCA) Certificate.

Smart borders and smart airports are growing rapidly. Every country establishes a single Country Signing Certificate Authority (CSCA) as its national trust point for issuing biometric passports. The CSCA certificates are valid for around three to five years.

E-passports decrease fraud and the possibility of fake passports. Unlike regular plastic IDs, an e-passport does not authenticate data if someone has interfered with the chip. Moreover, the data on e-passport cannot be erased remotely.

The global e-passport market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22% during the forecast period from 2021-2027. Over 120 countries have adopted e-passport methods to halt the entry of illegal immigrants.

Moreover, the issuance of e-passports will help curb fraud in the countries. E-Passports are considered more prevalent as they add security with the advanced electronic chip technology. Governments have been working on enhancing IT solutions by innovating various methods to prevent fraudulent activities.

Region-wise, North America and Europe have advanced their services by allotting e-passports to travelers. The authorities in the region have been contributing to the growth of IT services. Moreover, the Asia Pacific region is also working on upgrading its services with the launch of e-passports.

Various countries like India, Bangladesh, and China have taken a step forward to strengthen the security system with the help of e-passport services. 

The Glitches in the Growth

Technical Issues

Technological advancements have always been doubtful, owing to the regular technical glitches. Various scenarios have been reported where passengers had to wait hours in a long queue because of system failure.

Recently in September 2021, Self-service passport gates at various UK airports were down for the second time, causing delays for passengers.

Passengers had to wait in massive queues to enter the country. The sudden failure of IT systems affected the passengers at the electronic passport gates.

The same day Edinburgh Airport tweeted a short post informing that the Border Force colleagues are working to resolve the issue.


The growing advancements cost a significant investment. An advanced security system for passports would demand high expenses.

Moreover, every technological benefit brings along the data threat. The data collected by companies and governments has a high chance of getting hacked by hackers. Biometric data is valuable and irreplaceable, so organizations have to maintain a high-security system to save sensitive information from fraud.

However, providing security to such an extent would cost high expenses and continuous upgrades. Apart from that, the lost passwords and pins can be recovered through a few steps, but that’s quite challenging in case of physiological and behavioural changes.

Tracking and Data

The growing adoption of biometric authentication systems like facial recognition technology and other biometric security measures would increase the need for security. User data privacy has always been a major concern when it comes to digital solutions.

The biometrics are converted into data and stored in places or countries that have large surveillance measures. However, privacy concerns are always there. In many instances, organizations and governments have used facial recognition software to track and identify people with accuracy which significantly inhibits privacy.

As surveillance increases, biometric data can become a permanent digital tag used to track someone with and without their knowledge.

Poor implementation of technology or deliberate misuse can result in discrimination and exclusion. Most common biometric authentication methods rely on partial information to authenticate a user’s identity. For example, a mobile biometric device can scan an entire fingerprint and convert it into data.

However, future biometric authentication of the fingerprint will only use parts of the prints to verify identity. In 2018, a research team from New York University created an Artificial Intelligence platform that fraudulently cracked fingerprint authentication at a success rate of 20% by matching similarities of partial prints to the complete biometric data.

Your Face: The New Passport

Biometric passports have raised flags in the Middle Eastern countries as well. Dubai airports have recently launched e-passport services to provide hassle-free services to travellers. The technology will identify a person through facial and iris recognition features. Passengers don’t have to wait in a long queue, to perform several activities like check-in and immigration formalities.

Israel has also adopted the biometric methods of identifying travellers. The country changed the outlook of passports in 2017, making it compulsory for every citizen to adopt a biometric passport and ID. The advent in the country began in 2013. However, earlier citizens had a choice to choose from biometric and traditional passports.

Prominent Companies

Prominent companies that provide E-Passport solutions are HID Global, IAI Industrial Systems, Infineon Technologies AG, Dermalog Access IS, Crytovision, etc. HID Global provides significant passport solutions. The company performs an overall operation, from designing to manufacturing and then dispatching the passports to the customers.

There are two forms of passport services machine-readable (MRP) and electronic chip-embedded ePassport.  IAI Industrial Brands, another renowned company provides secured passport services to the public.

IAI systems have been adopted in several countries, including Sweden, Russia, Ukraine, China, India, Algeria, Portugal, Estonia, Costa Rica, Poland, and Thailand.

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