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News

Post office biometric data collection proposal branded irresponsible

TSSI Systems : 07 November, 2008  (Technical Article)
UK Home Secretary's proposal to have the Post Office collate biometric data leads to public identity security vulnerabilities according to TSSI
Identity specialist TSSI has branded the Government proposal by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith (Daily Telegraph, 6 November, page 19) to ask companies such as the Post Office to collect biometric data as irresponsible. It said that such a system that allowed private companies to gain ownership of public identity data could be vulnerable to abuse.

"Handing over the keys to public identity data to organisations such as Royal Mail will open up a whole new can of worms. It seems preposterous to put public data into the hands of a third party when data loss is as commonplace as it is," said Stewart Hefferman, COO, TSSI Systems Ltd. "It's clear now that the government has intended to link the ID card scheme into its other services. I've been concerned about such an extension of ID card use since they were very first announced."

"The big concern with ID verification is impersonation. Unfortunately, the Government's ID card scheme does not go far enough to address this problem - and by opening up a photo kiosk style fingerprinting service at a post office with data made accessible to various employees - will further exacerbate the problem."

"The two main weaknesses are firstly, an over-reliance on biometric security, and secondly, the preference for centralised data storage. Together these leave the ID card system vulnerable to cloning."
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