European Research Project ”BioP@ss” to Enhance Chip Card Security Paves the Way for Electronic ID Cards with EU-Wide Validity

News release of the European Research Cooperation "BioP@ss"

Oct 21, 2009 | Market News

Neubiberg, Germany – October 21, 2009 – Chip manufacturers Infineon Technologies AG and NXP Semiconductors Germany GmbH (NXP) and chip card maker Giesecke & Devrient GmbH (G&D) are among the eleven companies from six European Union (EU) countries participating in the European research project BioP@ss to develop a high-security chip card platform.

BioP@ss is the biggest chip card research project in the EU. Its goal is to do the technical spadework for the introduction of an electronic ID card in chip card format valid throughout the entire EU. In addition to its function as an ID card, it will be capable of providing a secure means of authentication for services offered by governments and public authorities, with BioP@ss-holders able to identify themselves electronically and carry out biometric authentication on the Internet. The 27 EU member states have about 500 million inhabitants, and an estimated 380 million ID cards are currently in circulation.

The objective of the BioP@ss project is to make chip card technology even more secure and easier to use so that, for instance, EU citizens can draw on the services of governments and public authorities by using their ID card on the Internet. Potential services include registering a change of address, registering a vehicle, filing a tax return (eGovernment), casting a vote in elections (eVoting) and other services provided by the retail, banking and insurance sectors (eBusiness). The BioP@ss research project entails the further development of the security chips, the card operating system and the security software for the Internet PCs used by the citizens and public authorities alike. The aim is to ensure that the chips, operating systems and software conform to the various national ID document standards already developed by EU member states.

One example for such an ID document standard is the standard for the European Citizen Card, which is designed to enable EU citizens to file their tax returns from anywhere in Europe. This card enables electronic identification, electronic authentication and the use of an electronic signature in the Web.

In their contribution to the BioP@ss project, the two semiconductor companies Infineon and NXP are working on refining encryption technologies for chips. Another main focus is to enhance the data transfer rates between chip card and reader. G&D is developing an innovative chip card operating system which, by means of conventional Internet protocols (e.g. TCP/IP, HTTP, TLS and SOAP), will allow the chip cards to be used with Internet PCs without the need to install additional software components. The connection between the chip card and the PC can either be wireless or via a USB interface.

A number of European nations – Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Poland, Romania, Switzerland and the UK – have already announced their intention to introduce electronic ID cards over the next few years that will conform with international standards.

The BioP@ss research project, which is planned for completion by the end of June 2011, has a total budget of some Euro 13 million, half of which is being provided by the participating partners from business and industry. The other half is covered by funds from the European EUREKA clusters CATRENE/MEDEA+, which are provided by the national governments. As part of the German Federal Government’s Hightech-Strategy and the funding program “Informations- und Kommunikationstechnologie 2020 (IKT 2020)”, the Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is supporting the BioP@ss project with Euro 2.8 million. One of the aims of the IKT 2020 program is to consolidate and strengthen Germany's technological lead in the field of information and communication technology. The support for BioP@ass is intended to further open up the international market for the chip card technology that Germany has helped develop.

Further information on the BioP@ss research project and the project partners is available at  

About Giesecke & Devrient
Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) is a leading international technology provider headquartered in Munich, Germany. With a headcount of around 10,000 employees, the Group generated sales of Euro 1.7 billion in fiscal 2008. Founded in 1852, G&D is a global market leader and pioneering innovator in banknote and banknote paper production and processing, smart card solutions for telecommunications and electronic payment, and security documents and identification systems. 49 subsidiaries and joint ventures across more than 30 countries ensure customer proximity worldwide. For more information, visit our website at:  

About NXP
NXP is a leading semiconductor company founded by Philips more than 50 years ago. Headquartered in Europe, the company has about 29,000 employees working in more than 30 countries and posted sales of USD 5.4 billion (including the Mobile & Personal business) in 2008. NXP is a top global supplier of chips in eGovernment applications, such as electronic passports, ID cards, or health cards. News from NXP is located at  

About Infineon

Infineon Technologies AG, Neubiberg, Germany, offers semiconductor and system solutions addressing three central challenges to modern society: energy efficiency, communications, and security. In the 2008 fiscal year (ending September), the company reported sales of Euro 4.3 billion with approximately 29,100 employees worldwide. With a global presence, Infineon operates through its subsidiaries in the U.S. from Milpitas, CA, in the Asia-Pacific region from Singapore, and in Japan from Tokyo. Infineon is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: IFX) and in the USA on the over-the-counter market OTCQX International Premier (ticker symbol: IFNNY). Further information is available at

This news release is also available online at and at  

Press contact at G&D
Stefan Waldenmaier
Phone: +49 89 4119-2985

Press contact at NXP
Birgit Ahlborn
Phone: +49 40 56 13 22 80

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Press Photos

  • BioP@ss is the biggest chip card research project in the European Union (EU). Eleven companies from six EU countries cooperate to develop a highly secure chip card platform for future electronic identity cards. Photo: Giesecke & Devrient.
    BioP@ss is the biggest chip card research project in the European Union (EU). Eleven companies from six EU countries cooperate to develop a highly secure chip card platform for future electronic identity cards. Photo: Giesecke & Devrient.
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