Infineon Technologies is developing two new security controllers intended to make electronic identity cards and passports of the future more secure and versatile. The first global testing of the new ID cards and passports will take place at the end of 2004.
Infineon’s new 64 kilobyte memory security controllers, the SLE66CLX640P and SLE66CLX641P, will provide twice the storage capacity of chips that are currently available, and will store all the personal information of the owner – including biometric data such as fingerprints, facial features, and retina or iris pattern – in encrypted form. Infineon predicts that they will speed up checks at international borders significantly.
The first security controller chip is designed as the core of a general-purpose card, which would combine a large number of electronic cash, customer and bankcards. With this chip, several identity documents, such as staff ID card, healthcare card and driving permit, could be replaced by a single ID card. Data can be read from the chip or written to the chip either wirelessly or via contacts, depending on the application.
The second chip has a contactless interface and is being developed specifically for a passport, where it will be integrated into the cover or into the plastic-coated document page of the passport.
To provide maximum protection for the data, Infineon has built more than 50 individual security mechanisms into the SLE66CLX640P and SLE66CLX641P chips.
The SLE66CLX640P and SLE66CLX641P security controllers will be ready to ship in high volumes by the end of 2004, with first samples available in late summer 2004.