The business of ID

25 January 2006 Accredited businesses will have access to the identity database within 10 years if the Government’s proposed identity cards scheme is approved by Parliament.

Katherine Courtney, the director of the Home Office scheme told attendees of the Effective IT 2006 Summit in Cardiff that the ID card scheme will enable businesses to establish the identity of individuals in a variety of ways, dependent upon the requirements of the business.

A total of 13 biometrics, (both irises, facial structure and ten finger prints) may be used by organisations that require high levels of authentication. Examples include airlines confirming the identity of new pilots.

Lower risk authentication processes, such as age-checking in pubs and restaurants, may need only the photograph on the card.

Businesses will require consent prior to accessing data on any individual held on the National Identity Register under the proposals. But some public service functions, such as emergency health services will be able to bypass those rules.

All UK citizens will be obliged to register their identities with the scheme during the ten year roll-out, said Courtney, but will not be required to keep their identity cards with them at all times. Under the scheme, citizens will be able to monitor the information the government holds on them, including details of who has accessed the information.

Courtney explained how through identity federation technologies, the introduction of the ID card scheme will enable public service organisations that require authentication of identity, such as the Inland Revenue or the Police, will be able to save time and resources spent on re-authenticating individuals who have already proven their identity to other departments.

Courtney also said while technology suppliers had already been consulted, details of how the systems would function had yet to be finalised.

“Since the market sounding meetings we have undertaken, I have found that we have more communication to do,” she said. “We need to see how the thinking has moved on since the scheme was first proposed,” she said.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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