Curse of identity fraud shows no sign of abating

The exponential growth in identity fraud shows no signs of abating as applications for credit rarely call for photographic proof of identity. As the names and addresses of most applicants are usually forwarded for profiling to credit reference agencies t

The exponential growth in identity fraud shows no signs of abating as applications for credit rarely call for photographic proof of identity.

As the names and addresses of most applicants are usually forwarded for profiling to credit reference agencies to obtain a credit rating, it should be possible for credit reference agencies with their huge databases to expand their portfolios to scrutinise every applicant's identity through biometric protocols permitting the interfacing of their databases with the government's central biometric database should such a database become a reality.

Companies receiving applications for credit purchases of goods etc. could then request applicants to voluntarily submit to biometric capture of their features from scanning devices similar to those being piloted for ATM's in the public domain for confirmation of identity with the central biometric database. Credit reference agencies could then go ahead with providing a credit rating based on consumer data. The fear is that while biometric security (which encompasses face recognition, iris scanning technology, digital fingerprinting, and anthropometry) provides irrefutable proof of identity, it could also be the poisoned chalice that undermines established frontiers of human rights and personal freedoms in a truly democratic society. But for how long can we continue to live in fear of our identities being stolen?

Walter Roberts


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79 Henfield Close

London N19

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