On October 27 – 28, experts of the European Commission visited Ukraine to participate in a meeting of the working group on Documents Security within the framework of a dialogue between Ukraine and the European Union relating to visa issues. The following items were discussed at the meeting: the conformity of Ukrainian travel passports with the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the implementation of passports with biometric data in Ukraine, and consideration of providing databases of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) with information regarding lost documents.
Within this dialogue between Kyiv and Brussels, the creation of more working groups is planned. In addition to the issue of document security, the problems of illegal migration, terrorism and many other matters relating to the visa dialogue will be put to discussion at the meetings. Based on the results of these meetings, the European Union experts will elaborate the recommendations for Ukraine in the format of a “roadmap”, which will specify the concrete steps the Ukrainian Government should undertake to gain an opportunity for a visa free entry into the European Union.
The program of the visit included an on-the-spot visit to the EDAPS Consortium enterprises, STATE CENTER FOR DOCUMENTS PERSONALIZATION of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of Ukraine, and the up-to-date Interregional Center for the Issuance of Passport Documents (Kyiv, Darnitsa district).
The interest of the EU Commissioners in EDAPS is understandable. As Bagnet already reported, in December 2008 representatives of the European Commission made a working visit to Ukraine to participate in the meeting Documents Security and Biometry with the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of Ukraine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, and the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine. At that time, a European delegation of more than 25 persons paid an on-site visit to the EDAPS Consortium. Among them was Sylvia Kolligs, officer of the Directorate-General Justice, Freedom and Security of the European Commission.
Although Ms. Kolligs had been to the Consortium before, this time she arrived again to visit the Ukrainian enterprises. It is quite possible that this visit to EDAPS might have been her initiative, as a wider program was suggested to the guests. The representatives of the European Commission visited the state-of-the-art Interregional Center for the Issuance of Passport Documents, the enterprise ZNAK (manufacturer of plastic cards and document blanks), and the STATE CENTER FOR DOCUMENTS PERSONALIZATION of the MIA of Ukraine.
Together with Ms. Kolligs, EDAPS was visited by Robin Chalmers, Head of the UK Identity and Passport Service; Maria Stogova, Expert of the Delegation of the European Commission to Ukraine; as well as representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.
Prior to the on-site visit to the EDAPS enterprises, a brief presentation of the Consortium’s capacities in the field of secure printing was suggested to the guests from the European Commission
The guests were welcomed by Iryna Obydenko, President of the EDAPS Consortium; Georgy Beilin, Member of the Board of Directors of the EDAPS Consortium; Igor Popovych, Director General of the enterprise ZNAK; Yuri Stus, Director General of the State Enterprise STATE CENTER FOR DOCUMENTS PERSONALIZATION of the MIA of Ukraine; Mikhail Gutsaliuk, Executive Director of the STATE CENTER FOR DOCUMENTS PERSONALIZATION; and Dmitry Povesma, Director of the Center for Biometric Technologies of VTI Company (KP VTI JSC).
The on-the-spot visit to the Interregional Center for the Issuance of Passport Documents was arranged by Mikhail Gutsaliuk and Georgy Beilin. They demonstrated to the guests the principal stages of the execution of travel passports and presented information on the operation of the State Information System of Individual Persons’ Registration and Documentation (SIS). Within the scope of the SIS work is the centralized issuance of the Ukrainian travel passports with a polycarbonate page.
We would like to note that the Interregional Center for the Issuance of Passport Documents (64, Lenin St., Darnitsa district of the Kyiv city) was opened by the MIA of Ukraine in cooperation with the EDAPS Consortium on November 4, 2008. The Center is equipped using up-to-date technologies in accordance with all international and national standards. The operation algorithm of this enterprise is based on the optimal scheme of quality and efficient service. While designing of the enterprise, the routes of customers and employees were studied separately; this ensures high speed in rendering services and prevents lines. As for the level of technologies and services, the Interregional Center is an example not only for Ukraine but for other developed countries as well. There is a comfortable and pleasant waiting room. Functioning bank branches and a convenient parking lot are located in the territory of the Center. The Center services up to 400 persons per day.
The EU Commissioners asked the representatives of the Consortium in detail about the operation of the Ukrainian passport system. In particular, Sylvia Kolligs and Robin Chalmers obtained more precise information on how the security of citizens’ personal data is ensured. As Georgy Beilin explained, the whole state passport system is arranged in such way that only the authorized officers of the MIA of Ukraine have access to the personal data. Thus, the design and issuance of travel passports are carried out exclusively by the officers of the MIA; the blanks for travel passports are personalized at the STATE CENTER FOR DOCUMENTS PERSONALIZATION of the MIA. The blanks for travel passports with an embedded polycarbonate page are dispatched from the State Enterprise Print Works UKRAINA of the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine.
The EU Commissioners were especially interested in checking the documents submitted by citizens for receiving travel passports and the documents recordkeeping (to prevent illegal passport issuance), etc.
The representatives of the European Commission, while visiting the Interregional Center, received evidence of the reliability of the audit trail of the documents that excludes the repeated issuance of documents without their registration
The MIA officers working at the Center demonstrated in real time mode the operation of the Ukrainian passport system that allows the stages of document execution, availability or non-availability of a citizen’s travel passport, etc. to be monitored; this excludes the possibility of the issuance of illegal documents. The European guests were satisfied with what they had seen.
The MIA officers accompanying the European Commission delegation noted that since June 2007, the beginning of the issuance of new Ukrainian travel passports with a polycarbonate page, no case of forgery or illegal issuance of documents has been registered.
At the same time, as Bagnet already reported, about 70 thousand Ukrainian travel passports of the old style with a pasted-in photo are in the INTERPOL database of stolen and lost passports.
After the Interregional Center, the EU Commissioners visited the enterprise ZNAK, where they were met by its Director, Igor Popovych. He demonstrated all principal stages of the manufacture of plastic cards and document blanks. Moreover, the demonstration included own unique equipment developed by the EDAPS Consortium scientists, which exceeds its foreign counterparts as far as efficiency and operational accuracy. The European guests evaluated the high technological level of the Enterprise. In particular, they inquired in detail about the security system implemented at the plant, and the recording and keeping of polycarbonate page blanks embedded in the passport booklet of the new travel passport.
The representatives of the European Commission at the enterprise ZNAK (from left to right): Robin Chalmers, Head of the UK Identity and Passport Service; Sylvia Kolligs, officer of the Directorate-General Justice, Freedom and Security of the European Commission; and Maria Stogova, Expert of the Delegation of the European Commission to Ukraine
ZNAK is certified according to the strictest requirements of the security systems of VISA and Mastercard payment systems. It should be noted that the representatives of the European Commission had to pass all the required multistage procedures applying biometric technologies to gain access to the interior of the Enterprise.
Igor Popovych, Director General of ZNAK (on the upper photo, extreme right) is demonstrating the enterprise products to the European delegation. The European guests appreciated the very high technological level of the enterprise
The guests were especially impressed by the STATE CENTER FOR DOCUMENTS PERSONALIZATION. The on-the-spot visit was arranged by Yuri Stus, Director General. The final stage of the manufacture of the Ukrainian travel passports, documents personalization, was demonstrated to the delegates. Yuri Stus showed how travel passports are protected against forgery in the process of the personalization of polycarbonate pages by means of laser engraving and laser perforation.
During the on-the-spot visit to the STATE CENTER FOR DOCUMENTS PERSONALIZATION, the technologies for the personalization of Ukrainian passports such as laser engraving and laser perforation, which exclude the possibility of tampering with the documents) were demonstrated to the guests from the European Commission.
Robin Chalmers is examining the Ukrainian technologies in the manufacture of highly protected documents
It is worth noting that to forge such a document is impossible, as citizens’ personal data recorded on polycarbonate can not be changed without damaging the structure of material (the external design of the page).
Representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine who visited the enterprises for the first time could not understand the reasons why some officials from the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the State Migration Service try to change the existing system of the manufacture and issuance of travel passports. These officials suggest transferring the production facilities for the issuance of documents to put them under the control of the above-mentioned Migration Service. Obviously, those officials do not know (and most probably do not suspect) how complicated this technological process is and who can generally manage it.
As was noted by the EDAPS press service, in spite of the attempts of officials from the Cabinet of Ministers and the State Migration Service to revert to out-of-date technologies, the Consortium will not change its position on providing Ukrainians with up-to-date and highly protected documents.
An Electronic Pass to the World
Within the framework of the visit, the presentation of a prototype e-passport for the INTERPOL staff, developed by the EDAPS Consortium, was carried out for the guests. The presentation was conducted by Dmytriy Povesma, Director of the Center for Biometric Technologies of VTI Company.
At the presentation of the prototype e-passport for INTERPOL officers that is designed and produced by the EDAPS Consortium
We would like to note that at the INTERPOL General Assembly held in Singapore on October 13, 2009 the EDAPS Consortium was unanimously adopted as the manufacturer of electronic passports for the INTERPOL staff.
As Bagnet already reported, the e-document samples designed by EDAPS successfully passed all tests in accredited European labs for compliance with ICAO requirements. The last testing made by the expert lab FIME confirmed that the e-passport designed by EDAPS embodies the most advanced cryptographic methods of information protection and methods of controlling access to the personal information of a document holder. This counteracts all modes of threats specified in the Common Criteria requirements (the common criteria adopted in the EU).
Sylvia Kolligs and Robin Chalmers particularly inquired about the state of affairs relating to the implementation of electronic travel documents in Ukraine. It is well known that according to ICAO requirements, its 189 member countries (including Ukraine) are to provide the issuance of e-passports to Ukrainian citizens by April 2010.
As Robin Chalmers said, the introduction of e-passports in Ukraine will benefit the dialogue on visa issues between Ukraine and the EU. “The implementation of electronic travel passports is one of the steps Ukraine is making towards the visa waiver regime with the EU. The e-passports are forgery-proof and ensure the high security of its holder when crossing the border, and on the whole it positively influences international security. Since the EU is introducing e-passports, Ukraine is also required to make such a step”.
The representatives of the EC have repeatedly expressed a similar opinion. As regards the technological matters, Ukraine was ready long ago to implement new generation documents due to EDAPS technologies, although Ukraine hasn’t adopted a political decision confirming the use of biometric technologies. A draft law, On the National Demographic Register, that passed the first reading in December 2006 is in the Verkhovna Rada. The adoption of such a law will allow Ukraine to fulfill its international commitments relating to the implementation of e-documents.
The officials of the European Commission noted that for the present they can’t make official assessments concerning the Ukrainian technologies, as an official position will be represented in the corresponding reports on the results of their visit to Ukraine.
However, being experts in the sphere of document security, they shared their first impressions of their visit to EDAPS. The high-ranking visitors from the European Commission noted that the Ukrainian Consortium implemented technologies of a very high level. As Sylvia Kolligs said, “Having the experience of visiting the enterprises of the Bundesdruckerei level (one of the biggest European manufacturers of passports, paper currency, ID cards and other documents – Ed.), world-class manufacturers, I can affirm that the EDAPS work is based on very high standards”.
Robin Chalmers admitted that he was surprised by the leaders of the Ukrainian ID industry: “I had a chance to visit a lot of enterprises that function in the sphere of secure printing and implementation of identification documents. I visited other countries and the manufacturers of a high level that meet the appropriate requirements of the international standards. However, I should admit that the EDAPS Consortium is the best among all those that I have seen”.
The comment by Robin Chalmers in the guest book of the Interregional Center for the Issuance of Passport Documents: “Thank you for an impressive demonstration that was very rich in content. Eager to see a Ukrainian e-passport. Thank you again!”
The EDAPS Consortium was established by the leaders of high tech in Ukraine. It is the only group of companies in the world with a complete production cycle of enterprises for the manufacture and implementation of the most highly protected IDs and information systems.
Passports and identification documents manufactured by EDAPS have been recognized by the ICAO and OSCE as some of the best in the world. The Consortium manufactures e-passports and ID cards for the staff of the International Criminal Police Organization INTERPOL. Driving licenses produced by the Consortium have been endorsed by the European Union. The EDAPS Consortium is the developer of a unique system of diamond and jewelry identification and the manufacturer of De Beers passports.
EDAPS possesses state-of-the-art and fully certified facilities, including one for the large-scale issuance and outsourcing of the personalization of VISA and MasterCard payment cards. Having completed over 300 major projects, EDAPS combines unrivaled experience in document and goods protection with the application of its unique technologies in the field of laser, polycarbonate, biometry, demetallized holograms, contact and contactless chips, and IT.
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