Advanced passports on the way

Greece will receive its first batch of new high-tech biometric passports at the beginning of next year, as part of the government’s drive to fall in line with EU and worldwide anti-terrorism measures, sources told Kathimerini yesterday. The passports will contain a 64-kilobyte microchip in the back cover, which can be scanned using a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system. The chip will be able to store information ranging from a digital scan of the holder’s iris to his or her DNA. The EU is set to decide on the final requirements shortly. For now, the passports will contain a digitally scanned photograph of the holder but a copy of the traveler’s fingerprint may also be added in the near future. Between 200,000 and 500,000 of the new passports will be rolled out at the beginning of 2006, police sources said. The Public Order Ministry is currently examining whether to set a deadline for all old passports to be replaced by the biometric ones, which are rendered illegible if somebody tries to tamper with them.

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