Fingerprint Technology to be Introduced for British Passports

Posted: June 29, 2009

This article was published in Fresh Business Thinking

By: Lea Pachta

Today, top security experts from Shred-it warn of the need to be vigilant as the UK Identity and Passport Service commits to embrace fingerprint and face recognition technology at its borders.

As of today, 29th June, all EU states including the UK, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland are required to begin the process of issuing new passports containing biometric elements, including facial images and fingerprints. States have until 2012 to fully implement the rules and current passports will remain valid for travelling for most countries until then.

Robert Guice, Senior Vice President of Shred-it, who provide document destruction services to a number of government organisations in the UK, said:

"It is the challenge of all parties involved to make sure this information, in electronic or paper form, never falls into the wrong hands. In an uncertain economy, when security breaches are on the rise and identity fraud criminals are looking for any loopholes they can find, the debate about document security is more relevant than ever."

"Given the magnitude of the data stored by organisations and the consequences of potential security violations, it is paramount that all involved parties understand the risks, learn from government best practices and work together to achieve total information security."

In the UK, the next generation of British passports will be available from October 2010, and will be equipped with improved security features including the capacity to hold fingerprint biometrics.

The new £400 million contract between the UK Identity and Passport Service and De La Rue, the world's largest commercial security printer and papermaker, will ensure the British passport keeps pace with the most advanced international standards for travel documents.

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