Passports could take place of ID cards, says Blunkett

MP and former home secretary David Blunkett tells Infosecurity 2009 that biometric passports could take the place of ID cards.

Former home secretary David Blunkett has said that a universal biometric passport could be used instead of the National ID card scheme.

He told an Infosecurity 2009 audience that people could use a passport with biometric identifiers and a database that was reliable, if they were "worried" about the implications of an ID card.

He also wanted to put "on record" that the billions of pounds needed for a passport authentication system was a myth, and that much of the cost would be shouldered by the purchaser.

Blunkett also welcomed Jacqui Smith's clarification on what data is to be kept for government use, but warned that if they got it wrong, confidence would plummet.

He said that the retention of data was perfectly legitimate with the proper authorisation, but that the accessing of this data needed to be dealt with at a "very high" level, and that any failure in this data sharing would erode confidence in the entire system.

He said that a review taking place of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) was very important and needed to be completed quickly, as the government needed to be tough about what sort of data organisations such as the police were allowed to access.

This was due to reports that some local authorities were conducting covert investigations into trivial offences, which Blunkett warned would destroy public trust.

Blunkett said that he was worried about a "well-meaning belief" that there was a need to keep data because it "might come in handy sometime" rather than think about what was needed, for what purpose, for how long, and how best to protect that data.

He said: "If we answered those types of questions we would be much more secure and we won't scare people to death about the surveillance state and everyone passing 300 cameras a day."

Blunkett also talked about the threat of an Olympic Cyber Attack' against London 2012.

Staff writer Asavin Wattanajantra has his own opinions on Blunkett's speech.

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