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Biometric passport opponents force vote

Swiss citizens are expected to vote on whether they want passports and identity cards embedded with their biometric information.

Opponents of a plan to introduce the new passports said they had collected about 55,000 signatures, which were presented to the Federal Chancellery on Thursday.

In March, parliament approved the widespread introduction of biometric passports and identity cards.

The passports have been in a trial phase since September 2006 and will include a chip that stores two fingerprints and the holder's facial image.

The introduction of the biometric passport was a requirement under the Schengen open-border treaty, to which Switzerland has signed up.

Opponents are concerned over issues including privacy, state control of information and the loss of data to third parties.