With over 40 million fraudulent or stolen passports in circulation globally, it has become increasingly important that government passport programs do all they can to ensure that the travelers crossing their borders are who they say they are. It also is important that those tasked with securing borders have the ability to confidently verify travelers with ease.

As government programs continue to evolve to include both digital and physical security features in their documents, passport agencies have found that the power of the document security is derived from a combination of the physical passport booklet attributes, the digital features within the booklet and digital features used to verify an individual’s identity during the enrollment process. This strong combination of physical and digital security elements allows for government agencies to ensure that they are issuing a trusted credential to a trusted identity.

Last week, Mary Olson, Entrust Datacard senior marketing manager government solutions, presented a session titled: The Power of Combining Physical and Digital Security. at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Machine Readable Travel Document (MRTD) conference in Montréal, Quebec, Canada to government officials from national identification and travel document issuance authorities, passport offices, immigration, customs, police and other border inspection and law enforcement agencies; Ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs, as well as embassy and consular staff.

During her session, Mary detailed the importance of industry standard best practices around combined digital and physical security features, illustrating her position with a variety of samples of altered passport booklets and RFID chips intercepted by the Canadian Border Services Agency. The samples allowed Mary to demonstrate a variety of examples of recently attempted passport counterfeiting — physical and digital to the audience. Today, in the world of trusted identities, it is not enough for counterfeiters to simply alter the biological information within a passport booklet; they also must alter or remove the RFID chip and a variety of other physical booklet features which are not easily replicated such as laser perforated serial numbers, four-color ultra-violet printing and tactile impressions which are hard to replicate without an advanced passport issuance systems. The real-life examples illustrated the power of combining physical and digital security —as many of the fraudulent samples could have passed first level security screening — but by combining both physical and digital security elements, the fraud was detected and intercepted.

Today, Entrust Datacard is engaged in high-profile government identity programs in more than 150 countries for e-passports, national IDs, driver’s licenses and other secure credentials.  Its solutions have been implemented in 18 of the 20 largest e-gov programs globally. On a daily basis, about 165,000 passports, 10 million credentials and 5 million smart cards are issued using Entrust Datacardâ„¢ technologies.

To learn more about how Entrust Datacard is working with global governments to help ensure trusted identities, visit: https://www.entrust.com/solutions/industries/government.

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