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The Real ID Act, which could be signed by President Bush in May, would require states to meet federal standards for electronically readable driver's licenses. Currently state laws can vary widely. In this photo from December 2004, a liquor store in Massachusetts scans a customer's license to verify its authenticity.
Bill Gates and Peter Vanvelthoven, Belgium's state secretary for computer network development (right), hold a Belgian electronic identity card.
The US-Visit program, run by the Department of Homeland Security, aims to track foreigners visiting the United States. Kiosks that scan passports and fingerprints, and issue printed receipts, are now being tested.