Contract for passport chips awarded

Infineon gets the nods for several million chips, but not all of the 15 million that will be used next year.

The US government has awarded a contract to German chipmaker Infineon for the security chips that will be used in electronic passports, Reuters reports.

The State Dept. plans to issue 15 million electronic passports in 2007. "Infineon will supply chips for several million passports, but not for all 15 million," an Infineon spokeswoman told Reuters.

Infineon is the first and currently the only supplier for such chips contracted by the U.S. government, the company said. And Infineon also provides RFID chips to Germany Norway and Sweden for passports.

The technology has been assailed by privacy and security experts.