Infineon Microcontrollers for India's e-Passports

by Manu Sharma    Mar 13, 2009

With about six million passports being annually issued in India, Infineon Technologies will be the supplier of contactless security microcontrollers for India’s electronic passport programme.

E-passport rollout has started with the issuance of electronic passports to Indian diplomats and officials, and it is expected that in this first phase, up to 30,000 e-passports shall be issued. By September 2009, the program is likely to be expanded to include passports used by the general public.

Talking to CXOtoday, Helmut Gassel, division president of the Chip Card and Security division at Infineon Technologies. We are proud to be selected to supply the security microcontrollers for the first rollout of the Indian electronic passports. These chips will be used for secure identification, financial transactions and access to electronic systems.

The India e-passport project utilizes the SLE 66CLX800PE security microcontroller from Infineon, which provides advanced performance and high execution speeds and was specifically designed for use in e-passports, identity cards, e-government cards and payment cards. The security microcontroller features a crypto-coprocessor and can operate at very high transaction speeds of upto 848 kbits/s even if elevated encryption and decryption operations have to be calculated.

In addition, the SLE 66CLX800PE offers all contactless proximity interfaces on a single chip: the ISO/IEC 14443 Type B interface and Type A interface which are both used for communication between e-passports and the respective readers, and the ISO/IEC 18092 passive mode interface which is used in transport and banking applications mainly in Japan.

The SLE 66PE product family comprises a whole product portfolio designed for use in basic-security to high-security smart card systems, with EEPROM sizes ranging from 4 kb to144 kb and covering different applications including government ID, transportation and payment.

Designed to facilitate international travel by allowing automatic identity verification, fast immigration inspections combined with efficient border protection and security, the new e-passports include a security microcontroller in the back cover of the passport that securely stores the same information that is printed on the document.

Besides India, Infineon supplies its security microcontrollers to many other countries for use in electronic passports including the USA, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Hong Kong, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Ivory Coast.