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Infineon to supply chips with new SAC protocol for Kosovan ePassport


Infineon Technologies has announced that it will supply security chips for the world’s first passports incorporating the Supplemental Access Control (SAC) protocol.

The passports, issued by the Republic of Kosovo, contain Infineon security chips of the SLE 78 product family. Since 2011, Kosovo has issued biometric passports.

“Our security chips create the technological pre-requisite for more data security and provide trust in electronic passports and eIDs on the part of public authorities and citizens,” Caren Loschinsky, Infineon’s head of business line government ID for its chip card and security division said.

According to the company, in order to fulfill increasing security requirements for contactless access to data stored on the passports, the ICAO now recommends the use of the SAC protocol. In contrast to the earlier generation BAC protocol, SACE is based on asymmetric encryption.

SAC will be mandatory for electronic passports issued from December 2014. As the first European country to comply with the new requirement, Kosovo will issue 800,000 epassports.

According to current estimates from market research firm IHS, roughly 192 million electronic passports are in circulation in Europe. In this region, over 30 million new electronic passports are issued each year.

Reported previously, Fingerprint Cards partnered up with Infineon last year to integrate its fingerprint verification algorithm and swipe sensor technology into Infineon’s secure chips. The primary purpose of this partnership is for secure mobile NFC transactions.

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