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B.C. exploring futuristic licences

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- The B.C. government is investigating the possibility of issuing drivers' licences with imprinted...

VANCOUVER, B.C. — The B.C. government is investigating the possibility of issuing drivers’ licences with imprinted fingerprints or other biometric features.

The technology could be an important advancement for Canadian officials working towards a solution for stringent new identification requirements at the US border.

Originally slated to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2008, legislation passed under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act would require all citizens entering the US at land crossings to carry a passport or secure identification.

The timeline was pushed back recently to 2009 to allow sufficient time for the countries to coordinate their efforts.

B.C. Solicitor General John Les said the biometric technology could make the cards an asset in plans for the border requirements, reported the Vancouver Province.

Biometrics are automated methods of recognizing a person based on a physiological or behavioral characteristic. Among the features measured are face, fingerprints, hand geometry, handwriting, iris, retinal, vein, and voice. For the purposes of a drivers licence, a fingerprint or retina scan are tipped as being the most practical.

The B.C. government is currently working in conjunction with the province’s motor-vehicle branch to conduct a study of the issue.

— with files from the Vancouver Province

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