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Ridge issues call for prints on passports



Published: Thu, January 13, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



WASHINGTON (AP) -- The United States should put the fingerprints of its citizens on passports to enhance global security, outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Wednesday in a recommendation risking a privacy fight at home.

Ridge said passports could ideally include biometric finger scans -- for all 10 fingers -- to help customs officials quickly and accurately identify U.S. travelers. He offered no details on how the plan might deal with privacy concerns or guard against international identity theft.

"If we're going to ask the rest of the world to put fingerprints on their passports, we ought to put our fingerprints on our passports," Ridge said in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The department has no immediate proposal to add fingerprints to U.S. passports, spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said. Ridge is scheduled to step down Feb. 1.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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