In an effort to fight identity theft and fraud, the UK has unveiled a new electronic passport complete with heightened security features and a revamped design.
Though the previous UK passport was already equipped with a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip – the device that makes an electronic passport electronic (read more here) – the redesign ensures a larger degree of safety and protection for the chip.
Once apparent on the outside of the passport, the new UK passport design moves the chip to the inside of the passport cover where it will no longer be visible also ensuring additional physical protection of the chip that contains a holder’s personal information such as name, age, height, birth date and place of birth, among other details.
Moving the chip to the inside of the passport covers also means it will be harder for counterfeiters to replace the chip without physically damaging the passport cover.
Other new security measures include a secondary image of the holder printed onto the observations page, a new transparent covering which includes several holograms to protect the holder’s personal details, and images of well-known UK scenes – including the White Cliffs of Dover, the Gower Peninsula, and the Giant’s Causeway – stretched across each page of the passport.
“Through a combination of physical and electronic security features, the UK passport remains one of the most secure and trusted documents in the worlds, meeting rigorous international standards,” Sarah Rapson, chief executive of the Identity and Passport Service told BBC. “The new design is part of our strategy to stay ahead of criminals who look to fraudulently alter or copy passports.”
The new UK passport will start being issued in October, and will be valid for a period of ten years.