The European Union has given the green light to biometric passports.
The majority of the European Parliament members have backed the bill proposed by the European Commission regarding the introduction of biometric passports in the Schengen zone. Countries have until June to start issuing the new passports, with a deadline for completing implementation in 2012.
Countries that are members of the European Union, but not part of the Schengen agreement, such as the UK and Ireland, are excluded from this regulation but are required to implement passports with machine-readable facial images instead. The UK has already announced that it will introduce biometric identification in order to not have its ‘documents to be rated as second class'.
The Parliament has agreed that children should require their own passports, however they will not feature biometric identification as the Parliament's Civil Liberties' Committee has argued that it is unnecessary due to their fingerprints developing.
Some civil liberties groups and security researchers are contesting the legislation, claiming that storing so many biometric records in a central European database is a security risk.
Security researchers maintain that while the new passports might be harder to forge, fingerprint identification is not so soundproof and precedents for false positives exist.
See original article on scmagazineus.com
EU approves biometric passports
By Dan Raywood on Jan 16, 2009 11:20AM