Taiwan Plans to Issue Biometric Passports

Taiwan has revealed plans Monday to issue biometric passports to counter passport forgery, but some lawmakers expressed fears that the new document could leak personal data.


Taiwan has revealed plans Monday to issue biometric passports to counter passport forgery, but some lawmakers expressed fears that the new document could leak personal data.

Deputy Foreign Minister Yang Tzu-pao said issuing biometric passports is to follow the international trend and to tighten passport control. Some 30 countries have introduced them.

"We plan to introduce bio passports on a small scale for one year before formally introducing it. We will not introduce it hastily because our main concern is human rights," he told parliament.

But some lawmakers are skeptical about the safety of biometric passports, fearing that it could leak personal data.

"It is necessary to upgrade anti-passport forgery measures, but it is also important to safeguard human rights. We will not pass the bill for bio passport until the foreign ministry can guarantee that bio passport is 100 percent safe," lawmaker Chou Shou-hsun told reporters.

Biometric passports, also called BioPass, contains a non-contact chip, which stores the passport holder's information and biometric features like facial characteristics and fingerprint.

While most countries charge about $50 for issuing an ordinary passport, the charge for a biometric passport is twice as much because it contains more security features and is more difficult to produce.


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