Next month, the State Department was slated to begin enforcing a new law: that some of the countries friendliest to the U.S. would have to start issuing passports that could be read by a computer scanner. It's a precursor to a October '04 deadline, to embed those passports with face-scan and other biometric data.If those nations so-called "visa-waiver" countries, because their citizens ordinarily don't need a visa to get into the U.S. -- hadn't started down the biometric road, their residents would need to get new, biometrically-enabled visas from U.S. authorities, or they couldn't enter the country.This seemed like a train wreck waiting to happen. Just last week, I spoke with Kelly Shannon, with the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs. She admitted that crucial preparations for embedding the biometric information in visas hadn't even begun."We haven't chosen which technology we're going to be using yet," she noted.So it comes as only a small surprise that officials at State will likely put off the computer-scanning regulations for at least a year. The New York Times has the story.THERE'S MORE: Wired News has a creepy little tale about the use of fingerprint-scanners in a Pennsylvania school district.

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