October 27, 2004 5:56 PM PDT

Europe likely to opt for biometric passports

Ministers for European Union member states agreed on Tuesday to adopt biometric passports.

The first biometric passports are set to arrive in 18 months. Initially, they will record the facial characteristics of the bearer. In three years, European travelers will also have to provide a fingerprint for the passport. The facial and fingerprint data will be stored on an embedded chip, along with a digital copy of the bearer's photo.

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