Article

Brits accept biometrics to prevent rise in identity theft

Ron Condon
The British are the most relaxed nation in Europe when it comes to using biometric technology to stop identity fraud, but most would be willing to submit to iris scans and scans of blood vessels in the hand – two technologies that are normally unpopular among users.

A survey sponsored by IT service provider Unisys Corp. polled attitudes to security among more than 12,000 people in 13 countries, including consumers in U.K,, France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Holland.

As well as probing opinions on a range of threats, the survey asked people how willing they would be to accept a range of methods for verifying their identity when dealing with a bank, government agency or other organisations.

The Dutch were the most accepting of fingerprint scans and photographs, but the British proved to be the most open-minded about new technologies such as eye scans, voice recognition, face recognition and scans of the blood vessels in the hand. By contrast, the Germans proved to be most resistant to hand scans.

The full results are show in the table below.

Neil Fisher, head of ID management at Unisys, said the U.K. attitudes had been shaped by recent disclosures of personal information losses and the high rate of identity theft.

"As reports of instances of ID fraud and ID theft continue to make the headlines, this research shows that U.K. consumers are understandably becomingly increasingly concerned about the security of their personal information," he said in a statement.

"Banks and government organisations need to do all that they can to protect U.K. consumers, but they need to consider the attitudes of their customers when implementing biometric and other security technologies as a means of protecting them from these threats. Encouragingly, this research clearly demonstrates that the majority of U.K. consumers have open minds when it comes to using new technologies to solve these problems."

Last week, the GetSafeOnline group, a national initiative which is backed by police, government and banks, revealed that Internet fraudsters are now selling complete financial identities for just £80, and items of personal information for £5.

Fingerprint Photo PIN Iris Scan Voice recognition Face Recognition Hand blood vessel scan
U.K.75 74 78 74 61 67 56
Germany62 53 59 48 35 43 26
France58 49 63 45 41 37 39
Italy63 42 59 43 38 35 36
Spain69 46 66 53 45 42 39
Holland80 78 85 72 51 59 46

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