Setec, Northern Europe's leading developer and manufacturer of visual and electronic card products, and a Gemplus company, announces today that it has begun the mass delivery of the new biometric passports and national identity cards with a function for electronic services (EID cards) for Sweden.
In October 2005, Sweden began to deploy nationwide passports embedded with a micro-chip, compliant with the international requirements of the ICAO, International Civil Aviation Organization, and the European Union. As such, the new Swedish passports, and the EID cards, meet the world's most demanding security requirements. Alongside the actual passport, Setec is also providing a comprehensive information processing system for the personalization of the biometric passports and EID cards and for the security calculation services.
This follows the 2004 multi-year agreement between the Swedish authorities and Setec's Swedish joint-venture AB Svenska Pass to deliver biometric passports.
This agreement also includes the delivery of the national Swedish EID cards. These cards contain two microchips; one for traveling purposes within Schengen countries similar to the biometric passport, and the other for identification, for example when logging onto networks to access various electronic services. The value of the agreement is in excess of EUR100 million.
The new passports and the EID cards will initially store in the micro-chips the personal data of each holder along side their digitally formatted facial image. Fingerprints may be included in a second phase.
"Sweden is a leading player when it comes to biometric identification, both in Europe and on the international scene. The Swedish passport and EID cards are based on remarkably safe and sophisticated smart card products that make them hard to forge. The cooperation with the Swedish authorities has worked very well, thus enabling us to develop the products and to start the mass deliveries in the time agreed," said Pekka Eloholma, President and CEO, Setec.
"The evolution of the Swedish passports has actually been bigger than just introducing a new biometric passport for our citizens. At the same time we have created a totally new and a very demanding information processing system together with Setec. The amount of work behind this project has been tremendous and the outcome is excellent. We are proud to be one of the first two countries to start a nationwide deployment of biometric passports in October," stated Lars Karlsand, Principal Administrative Officer at the Swedish National Police Board.
Also, Setec has begun to manufacture Norway's biometric passports and has been chosen to deliver also their technology to several other countries including Denmark. Currently, Setec manufactures and personalizes conventional, i.e. visual passports for Denmark and Finland.
Setec has been a Gemplus company since June 2005. The combined references and contract volume deliveries make Gemplus the undisputed leader in the electronic passport and identity card market.