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Tender for world's first biometric passports granted to Setec

The Finnish smart card and security printing company Setec together with its Danish associated company Setec Danmark A/S are to manufacture the world’s first passports according to the new specifications of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Denmark is the first country to decide to acquire a biometric passport that fulfils the ICAO specifications and the US visa waiver requirements.

The Danish authorities strongly emphasized the passport’s security features, durability and machine readability as well as the level of services, R&D resources and capabilities offered by Setec. in addition, the passport authorities demanded a proven solution for incorporating the chip with the biometric information into the passport.

According to Mr Tommi Nordberg, Senior Vice President of Setec’s Government & Corporate Business Unit, this agreement is a proof of Setec’s strategic alignments in passport development work being successful.

”So far competition has not been able to combine high visual security with a biometric chip. Setec has this solution ready for implementation. Uniquely, Setec is a developer of both chip operating systems and visually secure polycarbonate-based passport data pages,” states Mr Tommi Nordberg. He estimates that within a few years the majority of passports will be equipped with an embedded chip. The geometry of the face will be the first implemented biometric feature at least in the Nordic Countries. Setec will be active in promoting high-security biometric passports internationally also in the future in order to contribute to the improvement of worldwide travel security.

“In Denmark the authorities have already prepared the processes and made specific plans to implement the biometric features to the passport as soon as it is actually required by e.g. the United States. Setec Danmark has been active in providing consultation to the Danish authorities in this project,“ says Mr Poul Kjaerboll, the Managing Director of Setec Danmark A/S.

The parties have signed a 5-year contract covering nearly three million passports with deliveries starting in late 2004. The passport booklets are manufactured at Setec in Finland and personalised in Setec Danmark’s facilities in Ballerup on the outskirts of Copenhagen. “We are very pleased to have the contract as the competition of the tender was on a very high level,“ Mr Kjaerboll points out.

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