Feeds

UK overseas passports go biometric from 2006

No fingerprints, just faces

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Application security programs and practises

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has announced a £5m deal with 3M to kit out its embassies and consulates overseas with the technology needed to issue "biometric" passports. However, the scope of the deal largely confirms that the biometric element is less high tech than we might have imagined.

There will be no fingerprints on overseas passports for the time being, and the only biometric involved is facial recognition data. This will be taken from the structural dimensions of the standard passport photos and coded onto a chip, rather than involving complicated specialised photography that can map a face in three dimensions, etceteras. The chip will also include the passport holder's name, age and place of birth.

The deal with 3M, then, is mostly about making sure passports issued abroad - and one in 10 British passports is issued outside the UK - are issued as securely "as those issued by the UK Passport Office", according to the 3M announcement. We could probably get away with calling it a standard secure document issuing system with a little biometric garnish.

David Cook, general manager, 3M Safety and Security Division said that the goal was to ensure that multiple travel documents are not issued to the same person. "This is just the beginning. To complete the journey, all UK issued passports must become biometric," he added.

The UK's 104 consulates and embassies will begin issuing the chipped passports in January 2006. ®

Related stories

'RFID the lot of them!' UK ID card to use ICAO reader standard
UK EU presidency aims for Europe-wide biometric ID card
UK biometric ID card morphs into £30 'passport lite'

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.