Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Biometrics are not a panacea for data loss

Ian Brown writes, “Biometrics are not a panacea for data loss:”

“What we must ensure is that identity fraud is avoided, and the way to avoid identity fraud is to say that for passport information we will have the biometric support that is necessary, so that people can feel confident that their identity is protected.” – The Prime Minister, Hansard Column 1181, 21/11/07

These assertions are based on a fairy-tale view of the capabilities of the technology, and in addition, only deal with one aspect of the problems that this type of data breach causes.

Ian, you’re too kind. It’s not a fairy-tale view, it’s contempt for the public, and a belief that they can be spun into believing anything.

5 comments on "Biometrics are not a panacea for data loss"

  • Nicko says:

    Hmmm… I’m inclined to think that Ian’s description of a “fairy-tale view” is more accurate than you suppose. Just like “happily ever after”, it is a view that offers up something that the tabloid-reading public dream of, and long for, even if it seems unattainable. Never mind the witches, ogres and hackers out there on the ‘Net, biometrics will keep you safe at night.
    Personally, I find the whole idea inconceivable 🙂

  • mordaxus says:

    Adam, you said, “… and a belief that [the public] can be spun into believing anything.”
    You mean they can’t?

  • Antonomasia says:

    What about this story where you probably keep the same biometric when you change jobs.

  • Iang says:

    It isn’t just the public, there are wide swathes of the technology industry that believe that a lot of the mess will go away when someone offers the right identity product.

  • shaver says:

    Contempt for the public? Spin as universal solvent?
    That’s my kind of fairy tale!

Comments are closed.