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Biometric smart card identity scheme does away with need for centralised records.

UK Biometrics International : 23 November, 2007  (Technical Article)
Use of biometric identity cards where identification data is held on a smart card chip rather than centrally eliminates the need for large central Government databases and subsequent risk of compromised data.
Public fears concerning the national ID card scheme have been heightened following the loss of 25 million records by HMRC this week. But a national identity scheme proposed by UK Biometrics could mean faster implementation and secure identification without the need for a centralised national identity database.

The plan is to store everybody's biometric data on any smart card chip, currently embedded in credit cards. For those people who do not carry credit cards, a dedicated smart card would cost around five pounds.

When required by police or authorities to positively identify themselves the card holder would slot their smart card into a hand held biometric scanner, place their fingertip onto the reader and have their identity confirmed.

UK Biometrics Managing Director Matthew James explains;

"Resistance to the national ID card scheme appears to have hardened in response to the recent loss of HMRC data. The fear is a huge, national database containing the biometric data of around 60 million people and the security implications if that data store was breached. With the smart card plan everybody is responsible for their own data and there is no need for a national database. The hand held scanner simply confirms to the authorities that the person holding the card is who they claim to be and no additional data need be stored. In the event that someone loses their smart card, their fingerprint cannot be reproduced from the encrypted data held for comparison on the chip. Furthermore nobody can use the card for fraudulent purposes".

The smart card plan would eliminate ATM fraud since users would be required to scan their fingerprint to access their account rather than use vulnerable chip and PIN. A home scanner linked to a PC or laptop by a USB port could prevent internet transaction fraud since the user would be scan their fingerprint to confirm their identity and make a purchase.

Matthew James concludes;

"The smart card plan allows individuals to retain control and ownership of their biometric data. It is extremely cost effective since outlay for hardware would be offset by the reduction in bank and internet fraud. Most important the plan maximises benefit from secure biometric identity technology while minimising fear of a 'Big Brother State holding and controlling our biometric data".
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