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News

Manchester ID card scheme comes under criticism

PGP (GB) : 07 May, 2009  (Technical Article)
Identity theft cited as the predominant reason for resistance to the voluntary ID card program being planned for the UK city of Manchester
Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith has announced plans to introduce optional ID cards for Manchester citizens later this year. All passport holders aged 16 and over will be able to apply for an ID card through their local post office, pharmacy or retailer at an introductory cost of £30.

Whilst there has been widespread condemnation over the total cost of the scheme, security experts are warning of the potential risk to personal data security.

Jamie Cowper, Director of Marketing EMEA, at data protection expert PGP Corporation, has made these comments:

"The purpose of ID cards is to increase security in the UK, but they may in fact have the opposite effect. Post offices, pharmacies and shops are certainly convenient places to apply for a card, but the public will need to be convinced of their security credentials before handing over their personal details for processing.

"Even if these high street outlets can prove they are able to process and record this data in a highly secure manner, there remains serious concern about how all this information will be centrally stored by the Government. Given the numerous public sector data breaches of late, the public is fully justified in expressing unease about these proposals.

"Ultimately if this trial is to be rolled out nationwide it is absolutely essential that the Government quashes these fears, deploying proven technology such as encryption to protect citizen data. This is the only way to keep personal data absolutely safe. Even if sensitive information falls into the wrong hands, as long as it's encrypted it cannot be read by unauthorised parties so will remain secure."
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