Electronic Passports are truly one of the coolest things ever invented. They are constantly updated to reflect the most advanced technology by embedding and including sophisticated security design features to prevent potential impostors, counterfeiters, and fraudsters, who are truly the biggest threats globally.
Every country will exclude or include various features at the time of manufacturing a passport, which not many of you might know. Here are a few such interesting secrets to unveil and learn about. But before that, understand what types of security threats can occur for passports?
Security Threats That Can Occur For A Passport
Fraudsters can manipulate in various ways to make a forged passport. A few of these include:
- Tampering the inbuilt chip
- Counterfeiting the whole passport
- Modifying or deleting the visa entry stamps
- Making a fake passport of the actual bearer
- Stealing the passport’s genuine blank booklets
- Removing or substituting a few passport pages
- Changing the information given on a passport’s data page
- Substituting the photo of a passport bearer with someone else
10 Secrets Hidden Inside An Electronic Passport
To tighten the security features, most countries have come up with the concept of Electronic Passports. An Electronic Passport/e-Passport comes with an electronic chip, which contains the same details that are printed on the passport page but with extra layers of security.
An e-passport has many incredible hidden features like:
A holographic picture is one of the primary staples used while manufacturing electronic passports today. In fact, it is a well-admired security feature because it can be seen through our naked eyes. A hologram is a 3-dimensional image that is integrated on different passport pages and is clearly visible on the information/details page.
Though a hologram is a 3D picture, the secret is that it includes verifiable details based on its physical structure, which is solely machine-readable. The best example for this would be the Canadian Passports. They have holograms of different scenes from Canada’s history and the coolest secret is that they are visible only under a UV light.
2. Guilloche Design
A Guilloche design is a computer-optimized pattern, which is generated with thin lines to form a unique and intricate image. What’s fascinating is that this created image pattern can be reproduced only if a person has access to its original software along with its parameters. This security design makes it impossible for any forger to create a fake passport.
3. Electronic Chip
As said above, an “electronic passport” features an electronic chip, which includes the holder’s identification details and his/her photo.
4. Unique Fonts
Modern passports today make use of different font sizes and special fonts as a security feature. These fonts may appear easy but are extremely hard to replicate because they include some deliberate errors. In fact, a few passport pages also incorporate fonts that are so tiny that they are invisible even under a microscope. Such printing techniques make the toughest features for a passport to be forged.
5. Optically Variable Ink
Electronic passports include a feature called “Optically Variable Ink.” The secret about this exclusive ink is that it changes its color based on the light setting that is used to view it. According to the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) Document 9303, this machine-readable optical ink, use of special papers, threads, and printing methods have made it impossible to replicate a passport.
6. Encoded Data
An electronic passport might include encoded data, which are not visible to our naked eyes. The passport number can be encoded as well as stored on distinct security threads inside the passport itself. However, this can be decoded only using a machine reader. These hidden details add additional layers of security and again, making it difficult to forge.
Watermarks are though common, the ones that are used in electronic passports are exceptional. The watermark designs are formed with the help of tonal gradations or shades, which can be visible only under proper light. A passport printer might employ various watermarks for the pages that contain a holder’s data. This is done to prevent a fraudster from making a copy of the information page.
8. Sewing Technology
E-Passports employ a piece of distinctive sewing machinery to bind the passport pages together. This technology is used in such a way that if a person who has an intention to rip the passport booklet apart will not only find it a little hard to do it but will also make it apparent for others that the passport tampers. The secret also lies in its sewing threads. They are UV fluorescent, adding an additional layer of security measure.
9. Tactile Feature
An electronic passport also has the tactile feature, which means that they are perceptible when touched. It gives the passport a 3D texture or feel. A good example of tactile technology is Intaglio Printing. It is a process of making a relief image or print with a tactile/perceptible feel on a paper.
10. Dull Ultraviolet Paper
A dull ultraviolet paper is one of the unique and advanced types of paper that doesn’t reflect UV light. This means that the ultraviolet ink will appear only under a black light and not under regular light.