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U.S. to abandon biometric passport plans, for realz


Back in April the U.S. government started questioning the viability of their plan to use RFID chips to store biometric data in passports, which would also have required biometric passports from any visitors to the U.S. entering the country under the Visa Waiver program (which allows short-term visits without a visa). Now it appears the U.S. has finally admitted that the technology is unreliable, and countries affected by the Visa Waiver are scrapping their plans to comply with legislation that will likely be dropped. Trials in the UK last year identified a high level of failure in the registration and verification of iris, fingerprint and facial recognition among a pool of 10,000 British citizens. Privacy advocates in Ireland are equally concerned over false positives and the potential for abuse of the stored data. Previously, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had set a deadline of October 2005 for compliance, but US and European Commission officials have met to discuss accepting a secure digital photograph in lieu of the biometric passport requirements.

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