The US Government Printing Office (GPO) announced this week that it has produced a total of 75 million electronic passports, and called the achievement “a milestone.”
“This is a significant accomplishment for GPO and one more step forward in our long history of producing the passport for the Department of State,” said Acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks. “GPO is a leader in the production of secure credentials and I am proud our employees have contributed to strengthening the security of the passport and our Nation.”
Electronic passports contain a small electronic chip – an RFID chip – embedded in the cover that contains key information about the passport carrier such as their name, gender, date of birth and a digital photograph of the carrier. Some electronic passports contain biometric information as well and require digital confirmation of physical attributes such as fingerprints and iris patterns.
The US Government Printing Office began printing electronic passports in 2005, and has been the body responsible for passport printing since the 1920s. Currently, the GPO manufactures electronic passports in facilities in Washingston, D.C. and at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
Recent statistics released by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) – a United Nations agency that oversees international air travel – said that nearly 100 countries around the globe are now issuing electronic passports.
According to the ICAO’s research, the US provides the largest amount of electronic passports (72 million) and the UK is the second largest issuer (27 million). However, projections assembled by Acuity Market Intelligence say that the Asia Pacific region is projected to issue 55 million documents in 2014 alone, representing 42 per cent of the total global share.