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New federal employee IDs coming this fall, biometric firms giddy

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As The Washington Post reports, a slew of fresh government initiatives are set to begin to take effect this fall, starting with new biometric-loaded ID cards for federal employees. In addition to requiring all employees to undergo background checks (don't they do that already?), the new standards developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology will require the cards to include fingerprints at a minimum, and likely also include magnetic strips, personal identification numbers, digital photos, holograms, and watermarks. That should cover some 10 million employees, but that's a drop in the bucket compared to what's really getting the biometric companies excited: the prospect of tricking out every driver's license in the country with biometric goodness (or badness, depending on your perspective). While standards for that have yet to been set, the Real ID Act has set mid-2008 as the cut-off date to settle on the format of next-gen licenses once and for all.

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