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Shortage of chips threatens biometric passport, digital ID supply – and the suppliers

Shortage of chips threatens biometric passport, digital ID supply – and the suppliers

The global shortage of microchips threatens the ability of governments and companies to issue biometric digital ID documents such as passports and national identity cards, warns the Secure Identity Alliance, which represents ID suppliers at risk.

Geopolitics and global changes to demand and supply of and for chips initially hit the headlines as car production ground to a halt worldwide. It has since spread to other areas of manufacturing covering all manner of consumer goods and with estimates of the period of interruption going right up to 2023.

The Secure Identity Alliance (SIA), a grouping of mainly large-scale European identity system providers and which promotes the shift to digital ID, is now warning that the shortage could affect the manufacture of important secure physical credentials – currently these firms’ bread and butter – and calls on governments to help ensure supply.

According to their statement, governments should take on responsibility: “Authorities in charge of issuing ID documents should estimate their needs in terms of document deliveries for the next few years and engage with their industry partners. The current situation calls for the optimization of inventory management and accurate forecasting.”

The alliance, the board of which is made up of Idemia, Thales, IN Groupe and Veridos, calls on governments, regulators and European authorities to address the shortage to “help ensure the needs of the secure identity document sector – which provides an essential service to citizens across the world – are recognized and prioritized by chip manufacturers.”

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