Smart Card Alliance responds to passport card and EDL hack

Alliance clarifies technology usage in electronic passports versus passport cards and EDLs


In sharp contrast, the blue U.S. electronic passport books use RF-enabled contactless smart card technology. This is a completely different technology that includes a small computer inside the e-passport book. The U.S. e-passport is not vulnerable to the remote reading attack demonstrated on RFID-based Passport Cards and EDLs. A small gold chip icon on the book cover indicates an electronic passport.

U.S. electronic passports are very privacy-secure. A metallic shield in the cover prevents any information from being read when the book is closed. Further, it has a short read range of two inches and the chip won't give up any information until the passport book is physically opened and a unique key that is printed inside the passport is optically scanned and sent to the chip. The U.S. Department of State calls this e-passport security Basic Access Control.

Contactless smart cards are designed for high security applications and are used in tens of millions of identity credentials and payment cards worldwide.

About the Smart Card Alliance

The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to stimulate the understanding, adoption, use and widespread application of smart card technology. Through specific projects such as education programs, market research, advocacy, industry relations and open forums, the Alliance keeps its members connected to industry leaders and innovative thought. The Alliance is the single industry voice for smart cards, leading industry discussion on the impact and value of smart cards in the U.S. and Latin America. For more information please visit smartcardalliance.org.