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Central biometric database: if even the Japanese won’t do it … March 16, 2006

Posted by lifejacket in ID Cards & the Surveillance State.
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I’ve uncovered A 2004 press release from the Japanese “BTM” bank (opens as a PDF), intending to ramp up its bank card and add biometrics to it (“palm vein recognition”, in this instance).

“When using an ATM, the identity of Super IC Card holders will be verified through biometrics recognition, in addition to the regular PIN number. Personal identification using biometric recognition will also be implemented at the service counters of our branches … In recognizing the importance of protecting customers’ personal information, the biometric data will be stored inside of the IC chip forming part of the card and BTM will not hold the biometric data.

(my emphasis)

Two points which establish parity of this example with our proposed ID cards:
1) Identity to be verified through biometric data & PIN
2) Biometric recognition implemented at service counters

However, the bank recognises that security could be compromised by holding the personal data itself, so all biometric information will remain only on the card.

This is a Japanese bank, which was technically advanced enough to already be implementing biometric cards in 2004. If they are not prepared to keep customers’ biometric data centrally in case of a security breach, when they have perhaps only a few million customers, and only a few of them might offer their biometric data, then how are we supposed to believe the promises of the (proven technologically incompetent) British Government, who purport to be able to keep safe in perpetuity the full biometric and personal data for 42 million adults?

Furthermore (back to BTM again),

“In the unlikely event of deposits losses arising from theft and/or falsification of a customer’s bank passbook or banking card, BTM will provide compensation of up to Y100m. (Prior registration for biometric recognition will be required for such compensation).”

Note here,
1) Biometric registration is a requirement for receipt of compensation
2) The level of compensation offered is huge (100 million Yen – roughly £487,000)

Which implies that they are supremely confident in their biometric security.

If the British Government are equally as sure of the security of their scheme, which has far greater implications for the citizen than the theft of money from a bank account, then they should offer at least an equivalent amount of compensation to every citizen who is forcibly enrolled into the NIR.

If they refuse to offer this compensation then clearly they are not confident that the scheme is safe, and should think again about its forced implementation.

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