Biometric e-passports 'to reach 90% saturation by 2016'

08 September 2011

Posted by Michelle Devonshire

Within the next five years, 90 per cent of those with a passport will have the electronic version that contains biometric data.

This is the claim made in a new study, which predicts the smart documents will undergo a rapid migration around the world.

In its report 'Electronic Government and Health Care ID Cards - World - 2011', IMS Research suggests that the vast majority of portable ID of this kind will comply with the international standard for e-passports.

"There are still a few countries around the world that are not yet issuing e-passports," Alex Green, author of the study, stated, adding: "However, most have started."

On most passports, the only biometric data currently included is a digital image of the holders' face, but this is anticipated to change by 2014, with most documents expected to hold data such as iris scans and fingerprints as well.

During 2010-11, the UK Identity and Passport Service processed 5.4 million passport applications and carried out almost 300,000 interviews to authenticate identity.

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