Smart Passports Coming to Asia

Members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) are embracing the future with plans to develop a “smart” passport.

“Passports are among the most valuable documents in mass use today and it is essential that we use the latest technology to protect them from theft and fraud,” said Raymond Wong, Assistant Director, Hong Kong Immigration Department and APEC Business Mobility Division Chair.

APEC recently met in Hong Kong for a workshop on biometric technology for smart passports. Biometrics technology identifies or verifies the claimed identity of a person by using unique physical or behavioral characteristics. Examples of biometrics commonly found in biometrics applications include fingerprints, iris scans and facial recognition.

Improved passport technology took on more urgency after Sept. 11, 2001. In 2003, several programs throughout the world were announced.

It is believed that smart passports will not only help stop terrorists and criminals, but will also relieve some of the congestion caused by tightened security at airports. “The improved passport technology also speeds up immigration checks at airports and other borders,” said Wong.

But this won’t happen overnight (does anything worth its salt?). “The introduction of biometric technology in passports and other travel documents is a complex and challenging process,” said Wong, “but is rewarded by increased protection from terrorist attack and criminal actions.”

For more information:

APEC Business Mobility Group Press Release

Biometrics in the International Travel Context

Biometric-based passport in the works (2003)

No sooner did I pull this post together, than I got this little piece of information from NewsFactor:
Experts: E-passport Data Can Be Stolen

Share your travels!

About the author

As The Genre Traveler, Carma Spence loves to view the world through Genre-Coloured glasses. In other words, she sees the world through a lens of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, where trash cans can be Daleks in disguise and neighborhood forests can harbor faeries and sprites. Magic realism is real! Or at least you can choose to see the world that way to add to the fun and awe of life.