Germany is to introduce passports containing biometric information stored on an electronic chip from Nov. 1, Interior Minister Otto Schily has said. In the initial phase, the chip will carry a digital photograph of the passport holder. From 2007, two digital fingerprints will
also be put onto chips. Current passports will remain in use, but will be replaced by the new 10-year version when they expire. Germany is the first European country to introduce the new passports following a European Union directive introduced in January. Schily said the new passports would be extremely difficult to copy. "With biometrics, journeys become safer and simpler and the introduction of biometric passports in Europe is a landmark in the fight against organized crime and international terrorism," he said. The new document will cost 59 euros ($72), more than twice of what passports cost at the moment.