November 27, 2012 -
Lebanon is looking to introduce biometric passports to its citizens as of 2014. This is in line with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s mandatory requirement for the adoption of biometric technologies by 2015, the Daily Star reported.
“This change is necessary in light of continuing passport fraud around the world,” Col. Hasan Ali Ahmad, head of the IT department at the Directorate General of General Security in Lebanon told the Daily Start in an interview.
“We have asked the ICAO to assist us in the project and we have expressed our readiness to launch an international bid early next year to agree on the best companies to take on the task of printing the new passports.”
Currently, no vendor has been awarded the contract to create and produce Lebanon’s e-passports, but it’s generally assumed that the cost of producing these new passports will carry a higher cost than the current non-biometric passports issued in the country.
“The current passports cost $2 for the government, the new e-passports might cost $15,” Ahmad said. “The company that offers the lowest prices, we will probably choose it.”
Biometric e-passports are increasingly becoming the standard for travel around the world as many countries have recently opted to introduce them, including Canada, Taiwan, Zimbabwe and others. According to a SecureIDNews report from earlier this year, 93 out of 193 U.N member states were issuing e-passports at the time, with 21 additional countries ready to deploy the technology in the next 2 years.
As reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, more than three years after The European Commission set the deadline for issuing biometric passports with fingerprints to all European Union member states, Belgium still fails to comply with this requirement. As a result, the European Commission has referred the country to the Court of Justice of the EU, requesting that Belgium expedite the delivery of these required biometric passports.
A recent Biometric Research Note looks at government implementation of eID programs, including electronic passports.