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'More Than 40,000 Mistaken Identities'

Sky News | August 8, 2007

Flaws in the controversial identity cards scheme could lead to thousands in Britain being wrongly matched with other people's details, an academic has predicted.

Professor John Daugman said using fingerprints to identify individuals will result in one in 1,000 "false matches" by the time there are six million people in the system.

The Conservatives said this meant the scheme could run into serious difficulties within two years of the National Identity Register's introduction.

By the time the entire UK adult population was enrolled on the database, there could be well over 40,000 false matches in the system, they added.

"It means (the scheme) can no longer deliver the goal of one citizen, one identity, because it cannot survive so many comparisons without making false matches - so there will be false claims of multiple identities," IT expert Prof Daugman said.

"I don't want to ... say this whole system is doomed to fail but I will say that just from analysing the mathematical requirements, if it is just fingerprint, it is unlikely to be able to succeed."

Shadow home secretary David Davis accused the Prime Minister of ignoring expert advice.

He said: "Gordon Brown pretends ID cards will secure our identities, but tens of thousands of people could be falsely accused of not being who they are.

"That will create not solve problems and divert time, money and effort from vital areas of public protection, including at our borders and in the fight against terrorism."

 

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