De La Rue Identity Systems, an expert in secure government identity solutions, announced Malta's new upgraded ePassport system with Extended Access Control (EAC) capability went live on June28. This new solution delivers a higher level of security and access control, in accordance with the EU regulation for all Schengen Member States, for the addition of a second biometric — two fingerprints — to the data already stored on the chip. Its delivery is a key milestone in the government's ongoing strategic identity management plan.
Fully integrated with Malta's existing National Identity Management System (NIDMS), EAC capability is being launched initially in Malta and Gozo and will be rolled out across all embassy sites by the end of the year. De La Rue's EAC capability is a technically advanced solution and follows on from the go-live in September 2008 of the Island's original ePassport system. All elements have been specifically designed to meet necessary software development and integration needs, whilst also providing and linking the ePassport, border control, PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) and ID systems together. The ePassport application and issuance process continues to use De La Rue's sophisticated MIDIS software for enrollment, book personalization, quality assurance and issuance.
EAC protects the ePassport's sensitive second biometric via a process of authentication and by only granting access to authorized passport readers. It is this PKI foundation that allows ePassports to be read solely at immigration control stations, making it even more difficult for criminals who seek access to the data for purposes of counterfeit or fraud.
The Hon. Austin Gatt, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Communications (MITC) said, “Malta is very proud to be issuing second-generation ePassports. This is a technically advanced solution that will ensure Malta remains at the forefront of national identity systems. It will also make sure our citizens carry passports which are among the most secure and prestigious in the world today.”
James Thorburn, MD, De La Rue Identity Systems, said, “De La Rue is delighted to have had this opportunity to deliver the latest stage in the Government of Malta's eGovernment programme. The EAC functionality which we have provided puts Malta amongst the most advanced states in the world for ePassport capability and security. We are honoured to be the suppliers in this ongoing programme, being able to provide the necessary scalability, reliability and performance required by our customers.