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France embraces e-passports

Smart cards are now powering passports in France, the electronic ID cards allow French citizens to travel to the U.S. without the need for a visa.

Axalto, a company based in Amsterdam, has provided about 2 million of the e-passports, which also includes a digitized photo. The first control group to get them will be a large district of Paris. The rest of the country will have them by June 1st.

The e-passport has its sensitive information enclosed within an operating system that has contactless chip encryption algorithms. Experts say that the encryption is unbreakable.

Australia, Japan, and Sweden are also handing out the e-passports, which will be available for American citizens by 2007.

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