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Smart card industry vs. ID thieves

Week 43, 2007

The same study shows 82% of the British think it is acceptable for banks, credit card companies and government bodies to use biometrics to verify identity. It was also found that 87% of the British are ready to switch to another bank if they think that their personal information would be safer.

Identity theft has become a mainstream concern: more than half of all Europeans surveyed were either "very concerned" or "extremely concerned" about unauthorized access to their personal information.

Identity theft can happen in several manners. ID fraud might be rare, but it's a nasty crime, sometimes committed by someone we know, perhaps a lodger or even a former boyfriend or girlfriend. There is also more organized identity theft, such as obtaining data thanks to emptying dustbins. A study conducted by Experian demonstrates that more than one in three people throw away personal information, such as driving licenses, phone and utility bills. The most common fraud does not involve technological means. There is also more sophisticated fraud such as phishing, or attempting fraud through fake emails directing the user to a site where he will be asked for hiscredit card number and personal details.

What can we, as an industry, do? The smart card industry is in the best position to provide the public at large with numerous means to increase everyone's security against identity theft. Of course, it starts with the smart card based payment card, it goes on with a PIN protected SIM card, and it involves all types of ID. The smart card industry also provides security devices used to protect access to remote systems, such as the security devices used by banks. It is the role of the industry to demonstrate that what we provide brings additional security to the end-user. It is also our role, along with the public bodies such as APACS, to give recommendations to end-users, through the issuers channel, as per how to use our technological products in the best and most secure manner.

When the public is reassured, everyone will be a lot more willing to support national ID documents, such as ID cards in the UK, Access cards in Australia, or the Real ID driving licenses in the US.

Thierry Spanjaard
Chief Editor
Smart Insights