Every person in the world would be fingerprinted and registered under a universal identification plan to fight illegal immigration and identify the movements of potential terrorists that was outlined at a United Nations meeting. The plan was suggested by Pascal Smet, the head of Belgium?s independent asylum review board, at a meeting with ministers from many other countries. Smet says the European Union is already considering a Europe-wide system, using either fingerprints or eye scanning technology, to identify citizens.

He feels the plan could be implemented worldwide. ?There are no technical problems. It is only a question of will and investment,? he says. ?If you look to our societies, we are already registered from birth until death. Our governments know who we are and what we are. But one of the basic problems is the numbers of people in the world who are not registered, who do not have a set identity, and when these people move with real or fake passports, you cannot identify them.?

Smet says the plan would make it easier for people if their papers were lost or destroyed. It would allow countries to open their borders to tourists or asylum seekers, without having to worry about letting in terrorists or illegal workers.

The same idea has been discussed and rejected by government officials in the U.S. and England. It?s doubtful that Americans would go along with this kind of plan, despite the fact that most of us are now given social security numbers at birth. Australian Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock says, ?In principle we would be supportive of a system which would crack down on multiple asylum claims, but a universal identification system would be taking it too far.?

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