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Thursday, June 02, 2005
Infineon, Philips win order to provide chips for new German passports

Infineon and Philips won orders to supply security chips for German passports issued from November.

Both Philips and Infineon declined to state how much the order was worth.

Driven by the United States' visa waiver program, which requires visitors to the country to present a machine readable passport when visiting the country for less than 90 days, governments around the world are implementing smart passports. The new chips will allow the government to store a range of personal data inside the passports. Philips is working closely with a network of national governments worldwide to develop solutions designed around current and future security needs.

According to Philips, the new chip will coperate with a 72Kbyte EEPROM memory, specifically designed to fulfill the needs of eGovernment projects, with its high memory capacity able to hold biometric information such as fingerprints and facial images.

An Infineon spokeswoman said the semiconductor manufacturer will supply at least half of the chips used in the passports to the Bundesdruckerei GmbH printing company.

Infineon said there are about 24 mln German passport holders, and 10 pct of them replace their passports annually.

The spokeswoman added that Infineon expects this deal to lead to further order wins as other nations in Europe and other regions enhance the security of their passports.

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