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Home » Hacking News » US to abandon Biometric passport plan

US to abandon Biometric passport plan

by Nikola Strahija on June 15th, 2005 Irish citizens won’t have to carry a high-tech passport when visiting the US any more.

The reason for the change is that the technology behind the biometric scheme is seen as unreliable.

-Biometrics are just a tool, the real concern is that the information would be used for more than immigration control, said Aisling Reidy, director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties --There is also a significant risk of false positives, that people could be wrongly identified, because the technology is not reliable.’

The Sunday Times, meanwhile, quoted a spokesperson from the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, who said that the US has now recognised the technical challenges involved in implementing biometric information.
Trials in the UK last year, dealing with introduction of a biometrics-based national identity card, have shown significant levels of failure in the registration and verification of iris, fingerprint and facial recognition trials involving 10,000 British citizens.

Under a new arrangement, holders of passports that include digital photographs could continue to use visa waiver programme, designed to visit US without a visa for short period of time. The latest Irish passports include a secure digital photograph, but do not include biometrical information.

European officials believe the Americans have taken on board concerns that the move would reduce the number of people travelling to the US for business and leisure purposes.

Biometric passports have been under consideration since 2002, when US legislators passed a law requiring the 27 countries in the Visa Waiver programme to start issuing high-tech passports by October 2004. The deadline was subsequently extended to October 2005.

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