IT obstacle to e-government access plan

An entitlement card scheme for accessing government services which would store personal data and biometric information such as a...

An entitlement card scheme for accessing government services which would store personal data and biometric information such as a citizen's iris pattern would present "near insurmountable" technical challenges, experts have warned.

The Government has used recent trials and demonstrations of an iris photographing system at UK post offices as proof of public acceptance of the approach, which is currently the subject of a public consultation into entitlement cards.

Last week Home Office minister Lord Falconer claimed there was a two-to-one split in favour of an entitlement card scheme for accessing government services, based on trials involving 450 volunteers.

However, Dave Birch, a director at consultancy Consult Hyperion, said problems relating to compiling the databases of personal information for such a scheme, ironing out back-office problems and integration concerns were "near insurmountable". "It might happen in 10 years but I would regard it as unlikely in the short term," he said.

Birch said the registration process would constitute a "huge problem" and expressed concerns that the Government may try to use a central database, which would create "a single point of failure".

Birch also pointed to the risk of unauthorised people gaining access to personal data and biometric information. "The consequences are so bad it is hardly worth thinking about," he said.

While Birch is not against the idea of an entitlement scheme for certain functions, he believes that expectations are being raised too high.

The Government consultation paper Entitlement Cards and Identity Fraud, which looks at the potential for using biometric technology, runs until 31 January. The paper aims to assess whether the cards would be helpful to the public.

Read more on IT risk management

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

SearchCIO

SearchSecurity

SearchNetworking

SearchDataCenter

SearchDataManagement

Close