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things that just are

Friday, August 06, 2004

No More Smiles

LONDON (Reuters) - The fight against terrorism has wiped the smile off the face of British passport holders.

The UK Passport Service (UKPS) said Friday it would forbid open-mouthed smiles on passport pictures, one of several rules introduced to comply with strict new U.S. standards. Smiles are forbidden -- along with sunglasses and hair slanting across the eyes -- because they may confuse security cameras used to scan faces and verify the passport is authentic.

'These new guidelines are an important step in the development of the new biometric e-passport and use of facial recognition technology that will be introduced in 2005 as part of the ongoing fight against fraud and international terrorism,' UKPS Chief Executive Bernard Herdan said in a statement.

New British passports will also be fitted with a chip containing the facial image and other data, hi-tech measures introduced to help stamp out passport fraud.


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