US to digitise travel documents

Anti-terrorist plans put biometrics to the test...
Written by Heather McLean, Contributor

Anti-terrorist plans put biometrics to the test...

Visitors to the US will have their ID double-checked using the latest biometrics software, starting this month with the implementation of a massive digital photo database. The US State Department, with the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (INS), will check visitor identities at every US port of entry in a bid to stop terrorists sneaking through passport control. The project may be extended to encode all visitor travel documents so passports can be read electronically. Congress is also considering legislation to use personalised identifiers, such as fingerprint biometrics on visas and on passports of tourists from countries such as the UK which do not currently require visas. In June 2001 the State Department of Consular Affairs piloted a digital picture sharing scheme with four embassies and the INS which was expanded in December to include all new visas issued worldwide. However, Ashley Robinson, spokesman at Network Appliance, a storage and content delivery business said the logistics of the project are ridiculous. Trying to manage the picture transfer from each passport office to a central database would be horrendous, he said.
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