US passports “not verified”

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US border control agents were not using the right software to check passports for more than a decade, two US senators are supporting it.

Oregon senator Ron Wyden and the state of Missouri, senator Claire McCaskill asked US customs officials to start properly authenticate e-passports.

If the data on the smart chip can not be controlled, it is not possible to say whether it has been tampered with, they say.

Anti-forgery measures e-passports have never been implemented.

The US was one of the first countries in the world to adopt e-passports, and travellers from countries on the visa-waiver list is now required to enter the country using passports, which accelerates the time necessary for the process of individuals in border control.

However, the senators say that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has never used the anti-counterfeiting and anti-tampering of the safety measures is required to be built into the e-passport smart chip, because you don’t have the right software.

“CBP is aware of this lapse of security, at least since 2010, when the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has published a report highlighting the gap in technology,” Mr. Wyden and ms. McCaskill wrote in a letter to the customs officials.

“Eight years after the publication, the CBP still does not have the technological ability to authenticate the machine-readable data in the possession of an electronic passport.”

The senators want the border control to start the authentication data in the possession of an electronic passport by 1 January 2019.

CBP has told the BBC that, while not currently verify the country of a certificate of an electronic Passport, the government agency verify the data contained within the chip and the passport photo page that is inserted in the scanner.

CBP also said that it is a unit of analyze fradulent travel documents, seized by the officers, and physically check the travel documents belonging to all the passengers arriving on US-bound flights, and compare the data in the chip for details on the photo page.

ESET security expert Mark James says that does not authenticate the data stored in the electronic passport and the smart chip is a great concern.

“All the information stored in a chip could be compromised,” he told the BBC.

“In its simplest form, the passport data of the digital can be easily copied and stolen without your permission, and that the data could be used to forge a passport.”

However, he felt that this was only a big problem if WE, the officers of the customs, it is not a physical back-up control, as well as e-passport readers.