British citizens will soon get some quietly hi-tech passports care of Gemalto, which has won a decade-long contract with Her Majesty’s Passport Office.
To be precise, the contract is actually for 11.5 years, with 10 dedicated to production and issuance. Gemalto will provide the UK’s first polycarbonate passports, which will show visible damage if attempts are made to tamper with the materials. They will also feature digital components, with an operating system designed for compliance with ICAO standards; and they will feature citizens’ biometric and biographic data.
In a statement announcing the contract win, Gemalto asserted that it “will further extend Gemalto’s presence in the UK, where it has operated for the last 25 years and create new jobs, supplementing the 500+ staff which Gemalto already employs in the UK, as well as generating secondary economic benefits in the local communities where Gemalto will be manufacturing the passports.” The company also emphasized that the new passports “will be personalised in the UK to ensure all citizens’ personal and biometric data remains in the country.”
News of the contract win comes about a month after Gemalto’s announcement that it had upgraded its Gemalto Color Laser Shield technology to apply it to polycarbonate materials, allowing for even greater security for such ID solutions.