THE SCOTSMAN - by GERRI PEEV - October 18, 2005 - THE government's case for identity cards has been dealt a serious blow on the day of a crucial Commons vote after the software giant Microsoft warned that the proposals could generate "massive identity fraud" on a scale as yet unseen.
In an article for The Scotsman today, Jerry Fishenden, the national technology officer for Microsoft, says the proposal to place "biometrics" - or personal identifiers such as fingerprints - on a central database could perpetuate the "very problem the system was intended to prevent". He says ministers "should not be building systems that allow hackers to mine information so easily".
The timing of the warning could not have been worse for the government; ministers have been arm-twisting behind the scenes to stave off a Commons rebellion tonight over whether the bill should get a third reading.
Many Labour MPs have concerns about the scheme and some have vowed to side with the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives in opposing identity cards. The bill is expected to scrape through today, but the House of Lords is set to give it a tougher time.
Mr Fishenden says that, as no computer system is ever 100 per cent secure, "putting a comprehensive set of personal data in one place produces a honeypot effect - a highly attractive and richly rewarding target for criminals".
Ministers propose putting 13 personal identifiers, such as iris scans, fingerprints and facial imprints, on to a central database, along with personal details such as names and addresses. But the technology expert warns that holding these details in one place "is something that no technologist would ever recommend" and could leave individuals helpless if their details were compromised.
"Unlike other forms of information, such as credit card details, if core biometric details such as your fingerprints are compromised, it is not going to be possible to provide you with new ones," Mr Fishenden says. Using the same "identifiers" every time the ID card is presented is a "highly risky technical design" and could inadvertently broadcast personal information to fraudsters or private companies. Having to produce this much information for every service is "unnecessary" as systems could be designed to ensure that only the relevant data is revealed each time...
ID cards will contain RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification).
RFID is an automatic identification method, relying on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or transponders. An RFID tag is a small object that can be attached to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person. RFID tags contain antennas to enable them to receive and respond to radio-frequency queries from an RFID transceiver. Passive tags require no internal power source, whereas active tags require a power source. Thus we will all be tagged, our every move will be traceable. Big Brother is coming!
Only a short step away from Chip Implants!