A biometric passport is a combined paper and electronic identity document that uses biometrics to authenticate the citizenship of travelers. The passport's critical information is stored on a tiny computer chip, much like information stored on smartcards. The chip is able to hold digital signature data to ensure the integrity of the passport and the biometric data.
This combination of the biometrics aims to create an unrivaled level of security and protection against counterfeit and fraudulent identification documents.
I.C.A.O. (International Civil Aviation Organisation) nominated facial recognition as the primary biometric with fingerprint as backup but not mandatory.
The increasing threat of identity fraud necessitates the strengthening of security features in passports.
Biometric passports, have a new design and in addition new security features. New features include pages with intricate designs, watermarks and a chip.
The use of biometric information to link a person to a passport can help to counter identify fraud. In practice, biometric verification can be used at border controls and to verify the image on a passport renewal application against images held on record.
The symbol for biometric passports, mandatory printed on the cover of the passports
Biometrics are unique, measurable, physical characteristics which are used to recognise the identity or verify the claimed identity of an individual. Examples include facial image, fingerprints and iris patterns.
Facial recognition maps various features on the face, for example, the distances between the eyes, the nose, the mouth and the ears. The measurements are digitally coded and this can then be used for comparison and verification purposes.
The new Hellenic passport complies with international standards as set out by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). It has many new security features including a chip.
The new security features show if the passport is genuine or that it has been tampered with and the facial biometrics on the chip will help link the passport holder to the document.
Data on the chip are being protected against skimming and eavesdropping, through the use of advanced digital encryption techniques.
Data on the chip are secure. They are protected through three layers of security: