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Biometric ID scheme should not require national database

Date 29 Nov 2007

A North East-based company has proposed a national identity scheme which could help allay fears surrounding a Government-run information database.

Public fears concerning the national ID card scheme have been heightened following the loss of 25 million records by HMRC last week. But a scheme proposed by UK Biometrics Ltd of Newcastle could mean 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 said: "Resistance to the national ID card scheme appears to have hardened in response to the recent loss of HMRC data.

"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."

The smart card plan would eliminate ATM fraud since users would be required to scan their fingerprint to access their account rather than use 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."

For more information on UK Biometrics, visit

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