The introduction of ePassports creates opportunities for States to enhance global civil aviation security while at the same time improving the efficiency of aviation operations. The ePassport can contribute to this because verification of the public key infrastructure certificates associated with ePassports can provide border control authorities with an assurance that documents are genuine and unaltered, which in turn allows the biometric information contained in ePassports to be relied on to automate aspects of the border clearance process.
The implementation of a global system for ePassport validation achieved via the exchange of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificates is essential for the interoperability benefits of ePassports to be realised.
PKI validation does not require or involve any exchange of the personal data of passport holders, and the validation transactions help combat identity fraud.
The business case for validating ePassports is compelling. Border control authorities can confirm that:
As a result passport issuing authorities can better engage border control authorities in participating countries in identifying and removing from circulation bogus documents.
ePassport validation is therefore an essential element to capitalise on the investment made by States in developing ePassports to contribute to improved border security and safer air travel globally. Because the benefits of ePassport validation are collective, cumulative and universal, the broadest possible implementation of ePassport validation is desirable.
The exchange of PKI certificates and certificate revocation lists must be reliable and timely. This exchange cannot be achieved by other than electronic means.
The system of ePassport validation must operate on an open ended, indefinite basis.
The ICAO PKD has been established to support the global interoperability of ePassport validation to act as a central broker to manage the exchange of certificates and certificate revocation lists. This central role is critical to minimise the volume of certificates being exchanged, to ensure timely uploads and to manage adherence to technical standards to ensure interoperability is achieved and maintained.
ICAO PKD – Governance Arrangements The ICAO PKD was created at the request of ICAO Contracting States by ICAO Council and operates under the authority of the “Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Regarding Participation and Cost Sharing in the Electronic Machine Readable Travel Documents ICAO Public Key Directory”.
The PKD Board is the standing body responsible for the ICAO PKD, and the appointment of the PKD Board Members by the ICAO Council, in consistence with the provisions of the MoU. The PKD Board determines a range of operational procedures including:
The ICAO PKD Board procedural documents and MoU are available for download at PKD Documents.
Technical documents relating to the operation of the ICAO PKD include the Regulations for the ICAO Public Key Directory and the Procedures for the ICAO Public Key Directory. These documents are available for download at PKD Documents.