Norwegian biometric passports issued

October 24, 2005

Despite appeals by the Norwegian Data Inspectorate, a batch of just below 30 000 unencrypted, RFID-enabled passports are being printed thoughout October, according to

October 3rd the production of new Norwegian passports started at Setec Norge [a Gemplus company].

The passports have the same look as the previous editions, but have a new logo on the front.

According to Steinar Talgų of the Directorace of Policing, it is currently facial features being stored on the chipped passports. By 2007 fingerprints will follow, as required by the European Union.

Talgų estimates that during October, almost 30 000 new biometric passports will be printed. Several Norwegian citizens have already received their new passport.


In his note to the Department of Justice, the head of the data inspectorate referred to a common statement issued by 40 European data inspectorates / authorities demanding efficient safety measures. The data inspectorate sees opportunities for counterfeit and abuse of unencrypted information, and it is still unclear whether the additional information will be stored in the National Passport Database, creating a centralized database of very sensitive information.

Even if production has commenced, the Department of Justice write in a memo to the Data Inspectorate that it is in dialogue with the Directorate of Policing regarding evaluation and quality assurance of the production of the new passports.

The Departement's justification has been that the new passports are harder to counterfeit and abuse than previous versions of the passports. Additionally, the information is supposed to be encrypted and only readable over very short distances.

The Departement believes the new passports cannot be read by unauthorized readers using technology available today.

Posted by andersja

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