The realization that paper-based passports can be too easily altered or falsified is driving a worldwide move to electronic passports. In fact, there were more than 300,000 lost or stolen passports in the United States in recent years.
After the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, Congress legislated that all countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program with the United States must issue passports with integrated circuits (chips) to add digital security features that prevent counterfeiting and positively confirm the bearer of the passport with a biometric, such as a digital copy of the photograph printed on the cover.
Want to learn more about how the epassport protects your privacy and safety? Read JustAskGemalto.com's Tutorial on the U.S. Electronic Passport.