The Department of Homeland Security has started testing its e-Passport system as of January 15 at Terminal G of the San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The e-Passports feature embedded contactless chips embedded with the holder’s biographic and biometric data. They are also equipped with the security feature called Basic Access Control or BAC, which aids in the prevention of the unauthorized reading or skimming of information from e-Passports. The readers capable of reading these e-Passports will also be tested thoroughly during the trial run.
Participants in the test, which will run through April 15, include citizens of Australia and New Zealand, who are holders of new e-Passports, Singapore Airlines crew and officials, who are holding trial e-Passports, and U.S. diplomatic and official e-Passport holders. The test will be carried out in different locations too as the e-Passport holders will of course need to present them as they arrive at the SFO airport in the US, at the Changi Airport in Singapore or at Sydney Airport in Australia.
All that e-Passports participants have to do is present their e-Passports for a scan. Regular security measures, however, would not be dispensed with. That is, holders still have to go through regular security checks.