Biometric Passports

What are Biometric Passports?

Biometric Passports have emerged into public consciousness only recently, though they have been used in for several years. A Biometric Passport uses biometric technology to authenticate the citizenship of travelers. The passport’s critical information is stored on a small chip or microprocessor, and can even contain an embedded contactless chip that that is able to store digital signature data and information to ensure the safety of the data stored on the card.

The contactless chip is outfitted with storage memory and runs on an interface that allows it to recognize the information contained on the card without making physical contact with the card in accordance to international standards.

What are the most likely types of biometrics that will be used?

The current identification systems for biometric passports are retinal scans, fingerprint recognition, and digital imaging. A computer that verifies your identity by measuring the distance between your eyes or the size and shape of your retina is a good example of the type of biometric identification that can be used.

What other countries have Biometric Passports?

The is the most relevant example of a country that has used Biometric Passports for years. Other countries are just beginning to make plans for implementing Biometric systems of their own.

European nations plan to implement fingerprint scans and digital imaging biometrics that are placed on a contactless chip. American passports will only put digital imaging onto the contactless chip because of individuals concerned with issues of privacy.

is the most recent example of a country using a Biometric Passport System. Tier system was implemented in October of 2005, and is similar to the version that only places digital imaging on the contactless chip. As a result of upgraded security, Australian airports are also implementing systems that will allow those that have biometric passports to clear immigration more rapidly and employ facial recognition technology at immigration gates.

Will they really be more secure?

Biometric Passports will allow a greater degree of security for many nations across the world, and the trend of biometric identification will continue to grow. They will make cooperation between governments far easier, and allow normal citizens a more secure hold on their identity. Identity theft and the ability of criminals to forge a passport will be minimized, as will their ability to use your passport if they steal it.

sIn spite of the privacy issues surrounding the use of biometric passports and other biometric technology, they do provide a greater degree of security for both a nation and an individual. How much is still a subject of debate that will likely continue well into the future.

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