Infineon Technologies has announced that IBM will manufacture its highly-secure integrated circuits (ICs) used for secure identification applications, including electronic passports compliant with international travel regulations and the U.S. Personal Identity Verification (PIV) cards.
The planned production at IBM’s chip fabrication plant in Burlington, Vermont, provides US manufactured components for suppliers to US government electronic identification programs.
The move is timely following a scathing report by the Center for Public Integrity, a watchdog group, which said that inlays were still being assembled in Thailand. It accused the US GPO of lacking a basic security plan for protecting blank e-Passports from theft by terrorists, foreign spies or counterfeiters.
”Manufacturing at the IBM Trusted Foundry enables us to meet the specific needs of the U.S. government for in-country production from a security certified high-volume, high-quality source,” said Dr. Joerg Borchert, Vice President of the Chip Card & Security Division at Infineon Technologies North America Corp.
"Our plant in Dresden, Germany, has provided ICs for the U.S. ePassport since 2006. We now have a U.S. site that is fully-qualified to supply security microcontrollers and related products with the highest levels of security available in a production IC today.”
Both the IBM Trusted Foundry and Infineon’s Dresden plant are security certified according to “Common Criteria”, an international standard designation for the integrity of manufacturing and the supply chain from producer to end-customer. This provides Infineon customers with two fully-qualified sources for advanced security chip technology.
In Government ID applications, Infineon claims that roughly every second Government ID document (not including the China ID project) issued in 2009 incorporated a security chip produced by Infineon. Government ID applications include electronic documents, such as passports, national ID, health cards, drivers licenses and social security cards.