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Biometric ID system for foreigners in the works in Taiwan


The National Immigration Agency (NIA) in Taiwan wants to establish a biometric identification system for foreigners in the country.

The agency’s plans have come as a result of a recent story in which a British man fled Taiwan using someone else’s passport. According to the Taiwan Solidarity Union, this was allowed to happen as the immigration agency botched the usual screening process.

Reported in Focus Taiwan, Taiwan Solidary Union caucus whip Huang Wen-ling said the agency spent US$1.2 million in 2008 to set up a three-in-one biometric identification system, relying on fingerprint, face and retina biometrics at major airports in Taiwan. This system applies only to Taiwan passport holders and those holding alien residence permits.

According to Chen Chien-cheng, the deputy commander of the Agency’s Border Affairs Corps, the NIA asked for US$6 million (NT$180 million) to set up a biometric identification system for foreigners and has been allocated US$2.5 million (NT$73 million) for 2013.

As of yet, roughly US$1 million (NT$43 million) has been received to pilot the system.

Biometric border screenings are increasingly a part of today’s travel experience, and new systems are popping up at airports all over the world. Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security in the United States are teaming up to identify high-risk criminals and travellers using iris recognition technology.

Late last year, Canada announced that it will require biometric information from nationals of 29 different countries when applying for temporary visas, as a part of the Temporary Resident Biometrics Project.

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