U.S. PASSPORTS WILL GO BIOMETRIC IN 2004

In a little more than a year, the U.S. government will start including biometric data in new passports, the Register reports.The U.S. issues about 7 million passports per year. And starting in October 2004, the new passports wil contain a chip, with at least 32K of memory. On the chip will be a digital image of the holder's face."European biometric passports, by contrast, are planned to feature both retinal and fingerprint recognition biometrics on their smart cards," the Register says.BusinessWeek notes that biometrics are rapidly being adopted by the both the public and private sectors. In Afghanistan, for example, the U.N. uses an iris-scanning system to identify refugees returning from Pakistan.But Biometrics are no "magic bullet" for security, according to the magazine. The technology "works best in controlled situations -- which are hardly the norm in the real world."

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