Govt to ensure e-passport's data protection with multi-layered security features

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar
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External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar (Photo/IANS)

Highlights

The data of the soon-to-be launched e-passport will protected through multi-layered cyber security features, the government has assured the Lok Sabha.

New Delhi: The data of the soon-to-be launched e-passport will protected through multi-layered cyber security features, the government has assured the Lok Sabha.

The External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, while responding to questions raised by MPs in the Lower House, said the purpose to issue such e-passport is to make travel easier and smoother, and also to ensure the better security of the data of the passport holder.

"The data will be put into a chip through a personalization process and it will require a specialized printer to print it. There will be digital keys that will ensure the safety and security of the data like digital signatures. This way there will be multiple layers of security," Jaishankar said in response to questions on the data security of the e-passport.

Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor's raised the issue in the Parliament, asking the government to clarify cyber security related to e-passport by saying that it will be dangerous to issue such a thing without any prior check. Tharoor said that in such a way data can be stolen by international gangs, marketing companies, other groups or even by the terror groups.

"There are global studies that tell that these types of RFIDs can be skimmed. the terror groups, marketing companies, anybody can do this with the help of appropraiate technology. So our worry is - are we going to expose our citizens to greater danger? if the chip gets skimmed, the vital information about citizens can fall into the hands of others. Passport is an essential document, but you have to give it to a number of places, so what kind of security measures can be taken to ensure the security of data of our citizens," Tharoor has said.

Another Congress MP M.K. Raghavan, during the question hour, has asked, "What measures have been taken to ensure data security of Indian citizens, who are going to use the chip based e-passports. Whether it is not a violation of the right to privacy."

Around 4.5 crore chips for such RFID and biometrics-based passport will be ordered soon. The government will likely start issuing e-passports within next six months.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has recently announced the budgetary provision in the Union Budget-22 for the e-passport with RFID and biometrics.

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