Members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) are embracing the future with plans to develop a Ã¢â‚¬Å“smartÃ¢â‚¬Â passport.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“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,Ã¢â‚¬Â 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,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Wong.
But this wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Wong, Ã¢â‚¬Å“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