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Market assessment for Asia Pacific e-borders program.

Frost And Sullivan : 31 March, 2008  (New Product)
E-borders market in Asia Pacific comes under Frost and Sullivan scrutiny in a report on travel documents.
The need for a reliable solution to counter fraud, illegal immigration, and cross-border terrorism has created a case for e-Passports in the Asia Pacific region. The United States' Visa Waiver Program that necessitates e-Passports for select countries further enhances this demand.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Strategic Assessment of Asia Pacific e-Passport Markets- e-Passport, a machine-readable travel document containing smart card technology, comes in the form of a standard passport with the integrated circuit (IC) chip embedded in it. This technology is more secure and sophisticated than conventional passports.

e-Passports, require global cooperation and standard setting. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has issued protocols in this regard and tried to ensure a public key infrastructure (PKI) that can be shared by various countries.

"The PKI is significant in ensuring that the electronic data in the e-Passport can be trusted," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Michelle Foong.
However, it will be many years before countries install readers that are interoperable at most borders and agree on the distribution of digital certificates issued by the various member countries.

The infrastructure needed to use e-Passport effectively to police borders involves manufacturing and binding of the books, issuance and personalization systems, software for enrolment, capturing, and digitising data and border control systems such as autogate. Some major manufacturers of smart cards offer turnkey solutions for e-Passport systems.

As more countries move toward ICAO compliance, the use of smart cards in this application is only bound to grow. International mandates such as those by the United States and the European Union, which waive visas for travellers from specified countries that issue e-Passports, will also help increase the use of e-Passports.

Market participants will have to find a way to deal with the possible political concerns regarding the costs of migrating the current infrastructure - especially the proportion borne by the traveller.

"In creating a secure document such as the e-Passport, it is not only the travel document itself that needs to be scrutinised, but rather, the entire system and processes at issuance, immigration points, and back-end systems need to be considered from a security and efficiency perspective," says Foong.
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