EU asks US to extend deadline for "biometric" passports
As expected EU Commissioner Frattini has formally requested the USA to shift the deadline for so-called "biometric" passports from October 2005 to August 2006. Apparently only six EU states - Belgium, Germany, Austria, Finland, Sweden and Luxembourg - out of 25 will be ready by October to start issuing the new passports.
In a letter Frattini said:
Despite all the progress by the EU member states in reinforcing the security of passports, you are surely aware that critical aspects of the biometric technology, such as date security and interoperability of reading devices, are still being finalised, he wrote.
We would urge the Congress to consider a second extension of the deadline, as member states would need until August 28 2006 for the implementation of the facial image in their passports.
These "biometric" passports with a "facial image" - which expressed in lay terms mean that the normal passport photo, supplied with a postal application, will be scanned and the image placed on a "chip". This is not a biometric, but it is all that is required under the ICAO agreed standard (International Civil Aviation Organisation).
See also: Home Office statement on UK "biometric" passports
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