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Author`s name Ольга Савка

EU requires new biometrical passports for Russia as a condition to join the world community

The maniacal aspiration to spy on everyone will most likely cause problems to people

Russian authorities are currently working on the requirement of the European Union to introduce changes to Russian passports for traveling abroad. According to the EU's requirement, Russian passports are supposed to contain the biometric identification of their owners. International organizations recommend the idea should be implemented by 2011. Russia is to start realizing it in 2006-2007, deputy chairman of the Federal Migration Service, Yury Dyomin said.

”There will be no sudden change of passports in Russia. Old IDs will be valid, when new ones will be introduced,” Mr. Dyomin said. It is noteworthy that Russian citizens have recently had to experience several passport changes over just a couple of years.

The introduction of biometrical passports is connected with the toughening of the anti-terrorist struggle in Europe and in the USA. It is expected that the new measure will improve cooperation between special services and the police in terms of intercepting electronic messages. New passports are already being tested in Great Britain, Germany and the USA. It is worth mentioning, however, that the idea of biometrical passports does not find the universal approval among passport-holders. British citizens, for example, characterized the novelty as the “absolute espionage.” A biological passport will contain a digitalized image of its owner: it will be possible to trace and scan the images at airports, for example. In addition, there will be a special section for digital fingerprints in the ID as well. The final decision pertaining to the type of the information to be uploaded in the passport chip has not been coordinated yet: it will probably be a blood group, a tax-payer's identification code or something else.

The introduction of the new generation of documents is one of the most important issues for Russia during its integration in the world community. “I do not like the idea of Russian biometrical passports. I would not say that it is a violation of human rights. However, this maniacal aspiration to spy on everyone will cause problems to people. When they introduced the tax-payer's identification code, it had no positive influence on the collection of taxes,” Evgeny Ikhlov, a spokesman for the movement “For Human Rights” said.

”I do not see anything dangerous here. It is just a new, unusual method of identification for us,” the chairwoman of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Lyudmila Alekseyeva said. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov has already signed the decree about the introduction of biometric passports from January 1st, 2006. Yury Dyomin, the deputy chairman of the Federal Migration Service believes that Russia will not lack behind Western states, when the new type of passports is introduced.

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