Biometric passports - detail right

Voters on May 17 decided to introduce passports containing an electronic chip with the holder's facial image and fingerprints.

This content was published on April 15, 2009 - 09:59

The new travel documents are aimed at preventing forgeries and other abuses.

Parliament approved the new passports, falling into line with requirements by the European Union, and agreed to the storage of the data in a central register.

Opponents from across the political spectrum challenged the decision on data protection grounds, and complained of pressure from the EU and the United States.

Key facts

Biometric passports were not the only issue up for nationwide vote on May 17.

Voters also decided on a proposal to include alternative medicine in a list of services paid for by health insurance companies.

As a rule nationwide ballots take place four times a year.

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Biometrics is the science of measuring an individual's physical properties. Biometric systems recognise features such as a fingerprint, iris patterns, ear shape, and vein structure. A person's biometric data can be compared with the information contained in the passport for verification purposes.

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