Passports set to go digital

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The Independent Online
The latest digital printing techniques are to be employed in an effort to make the British passport forgery-proof, it was announced yesterday. From the end of next year, all new passports will carry a digitalised image of the holder's face and signature.

Announcing the decision, Mike O'Brien, the Home Office minister, said it would improve passport security. "The threat to the security of the passport ... is growing," he said. The work has been contracted out to two private companies. Siemens Business Services will collect and transmit the electronic data for the passports while the privatised Stationery Office will print them. Mr O'Brien said the contracts did not mean the Passport Agency was being privatised.