Aussie E-Passports From October 23
Chips have been delivered to passport contractor Note Printing Australia, assistant secretary of the Department’s passport branch Bob Nash said. Note Printing is the company that prints plastic currency for the Reserve Bank. A beta trial of 2500 passports issued to Qantas flight crews has been underway since last December. According to Nash, existing passports would remain valid after October 23. “We are not recalling passports,” he said. “e-Passports will be issued to all applicants that apply on or after that date.” According to Nash, what’s on e-passport’s chip would be little different to what was already printed on existing passports, he said. “There is no plan at this stage to store any additional information,” he said. However a quality digital photo will be required and such a photo could provide a digital scan good enough to be analysed by facial recognition systems, he said. Customs says the second-generation Smart Gate facial recognition kiosks would be rolled out as e-passport user numbers increased, with early 2007 planned as the date for widespread installation.