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new passports for US visits--when?

According to the New York Times, it's on October 2004:

Technologies that scan faces and fingerprints will become a standard part of travel for foreign visitors next year, and for all travelers in the near future.

The technology, known as biometrics, has been developing for years, but largely because of security concerns after the attacks on Sept. 11, its arrival has been greatly accelerated.

One deadline looms large Oct. 26, 2004. In a little more than a year, the State Department and immigration bureau must begin issuing visas and other documents with the body-identifying technologies to foreign visitors. The change is mandated by border security legislation passed by Congress last May. The federal government has started issuing border-crossing cards for Mexican citizens and green cards that display fingerprints and photos.

By the same deadline, the 27 countries whose citizens can travel to the United States without visas must begin issuing passports with computer chips containing facial recognition data or lose their special status. People from those countries with passports issued before the deadline may still travel to the United States without visas as long as their governments have begun biometric identification programs.

But I thought it was October this year. I'm confused.

And it sounds like quite a lot of information on foreign citizens doesn't it? Biometrics and so on.... I think it will be interesting to see what happens when (or if) they actually try to impose this same system for their own passports/documents. And if it doesn't happen, one would have to ask why should the rest of the world be treated with so much suspicion, and if that's something healthy for an open society.

Categories: geopolitics
Posted by diego on August 25 2003 at 1:45 AM

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