Latvia relies on e-ID expertise from Germany

[Essen/Riga, 8 May 2012] In future, the Latvian Ministry of the Interior will be relying on German IT infrastructure technology for the issue and verification of electronic identification documents. The Essen-based IT security company secunet Security Networks AG is providing the software for the new Latvian passport and migration information system. secunet will be assuming the role of subcontractor to the Riga-based technology company Lattelecom.

The Latvian Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs – an agency that reports to Latvia's Ministry of the Interior – is setting up a new passport and migration information system required for the issue of electronic identification and visa documents.

The existing PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) that has until now provided the necessary certificates for reading electronic passports and e-IDs is now being replaced and accompanied by a new background system for checking the validity of the documents.

The PKI is a core component of the Latvian border control infrastructure and forms the trust anchor for the issue of electronic identity documents in Latvia. Furthermore, the PKI also allows verification checks of passports and identity documents at border control posts and in all Latvian embassies across the globe.

The newly established system is based on secunet's eID PKI Suite solution. The eID PKI Suite not only contains the PKI components required for the issue of identity documents in accordance with the ICAO specifications (International Civil Aviation Organisation), but also the EAC PKI components for the verification of electronic documents.

EAC (Extended Access Control) is the standard function for protecting the data stored in digital form on the latest electronic passports and e-IDs from unauthorised access. Among other things, EAC requires that the ID reader prove its authorisation to access the data on the electronic travel document. For this authentication, the reader must have certificates and corresponding cryptographic keys. In Latvia, these will be made available via the secunet eID PKI Suite in the future.

In addition to the PKI solution, secunet also offers further components for border control infrastructures, including the biometric middleware secunet biomiddle, e-gate solutions for partially automated border crossing and client solutions for the verification of electronic identification documents at border control posts. secunet border control systems are already in use in several European states as well as in Asia and have repeatedly proven themselves in daily use. secunet e-ID components are also an important part of the e-ID strategy in Germany.