Millions of ePassports issued in Britain

Oct. 6, 2006 at 7:52 AM
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LONDON, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- Britain's Identity and Passport Service said it has issued more than 2.5 million ePassports since the biometric documents were made available in March.

Bernard Herdan, IPS executive director for service delivery, said the agency has completed the process of changing production to solely focus on the new style of passport, reported Friday. He said the changeover comes amid record-level demand for passports.

Herdan said the biometric design is the "most secure passport ever issued" by the United Kingdom.

"In combination with enhanced background checks and plans to interview first-time passport applicants from next spring, this new more secure passport will deliver a step-change in our ability to combat passport fraud and forgery," Herdan said in the report.

The passports include a microchip that contains the owner's biometric identification information to be checked against facial recognition software to identify known passport fraud perpetrators. The documents have sparked random biometric checks on holders of the passports to confirm their identities.

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