Managed security service provider Cybertrust has won a Federal government contract to supply the public key infrastructure (PKI) component of the pilot for the new Australian ePassport.
According to Cybertrust, the Australian ePassport was among the first in the world to comply with the standards set by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) which sets standards for travel documents.
Cybertrust was selected by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to provide PKI technology to protect the biometric data on the passport.
"The team that we put together to work on this project combines experts in the fields of PKI, biometric and application security."
"This highly specialised are of PKI technology was developed within the local team which now has the security knowledge and experience we can leverage to go after further ePassport tenders around the world," said Paul O'Rourke, CEO at Cybertrust Asia-Pacific.
Cybertrust's local team would also lead the way in tendering for several international ePassport contracts, the company said.
It would become compulsory starting October 2005 for all travellers from countries that are part of a US visa waiver program to have biometric identifiers in their passports.
For the Australian ePassport, the biographical information and digital photograph of a document holder would be digitally signed with the government's unique key and placed onto a chip on the passport. Once this is done, that information cannot be altered without tampering being evident, the company claimed.
Under the scheme, customs staff at the airport would use special readers to read the secure data object created by Cybertrust from the passport chip.
The signature would then be compared with the one held securely in the ICAO's central directory, the company said.
There are currently 27 countries involved in the US waiver scheme.