HJP Consulting has released a white paper to provide an explanation on the benefits of participating in the Public Key Directory (PKD) of the International Civil Aviation Organization. The paper was commissioned by the ICAO PKD Board and the ICAO Implementation and Capacity Building Working Group and explains the complex cryptography which is used in electronic passports in very simple terms.
ICAO is hopig to use the paper to sign more countries up for the directory. Via the PKD, the certificates of the public keys which are used for manufacturing electronic passports can be made available for download to all border control points in the world.
It is only once the safe management and distribution of public keys is in place that border officials of every state will be able to reliably check whether the data that is saved in the chip of the passport they are checking has been manipulated or whether the chip has been unlawfully replaced.
More than 70 States around the world now issue their citizens with electronic passports. However, far fewer States have equipped their border control points with new inspection systems for reliably reading the contactless chips in passports. This is also perhaps due to the fact that the efficient distribution of public keys for reliably checking digital signatures over the electronically stored data has so far not been guaranteed.
The white paper can be downloaded here.