In 2012, a year after you’ll be able to get married in space, it is the intention of the government and the Post Office to roll out fingerprint passports. Tests will begin on non-EU residents and those working in a sensitive job in the second half of 2009. Younger volunteers will then be able to put their names forward for the innovative ID method in 2010 with all passport applications from 2011 being for the fingerprint ID technology.
The biometric technology itself is far from new, you can even get PCs and flash drives with fingerprint recognition but the problem is in the infrastructure required. What’s more the technology certainly sounds cool, but to my mind fingerprint passports isn’t something that I would instantly associate with the less than glamorous, although highly essential, Post Office.
Despite the anomalous connection between biometrics and the Post Office, it is expected that passport applicants in the future will be expected to provide their prints at a local Post Office branch. A happy side effect of this could be the saviour of numerous branches that would otherwise close. Talks have started and are ongoing between various government departments and the Post Office regarding these early plans.