By Joe Fay
Gov targets boozers as Manc ID card scheme launches
A handful of lucky Mancunians should be getting their hands on ID cards within ten days, after the government officially kicked off the much-anticipated scheme in the Northern city today.
The government has thrown open the appointments book at Identity and Passport Offices in the city and at Manchester Airport.
So far, there are no reports of congestion at either site due to a mad stampede of ID-challenged individuals wishing to confirm they are who the government says they are. So far, only 1,386 people in the area have so much as asked for an application form.
Still, Home Secretary Alan Johnson flashed one as he travelled to a ministerial meeting in Brussels yesterday.
“It can be used by young people as a convenient and universal proof of age and as a credit-card sized alternative to the passport when travelling in Europe,” said 59-year-old Johnson in a canned statement.
Meanwhile, ID minister Meg Hillier reiterated how important the ID card scheme would be for city’s booze economy – Manchester has one of the highest student populations in Europe.
“With research by the Identity and Passport Service showing that nearly ten per cent of passports are lost by young people on nights out and tough legislation introduced this month to clamp down on underage drinking, it will be more important than ever for young people to have access to a universally accepted proof of age.”
Anti-ID card group No2ID sought to shoot down Johnson, saying that to get a card, you first had to have a passport.
It added that at £30, the ID card is much more expensive than other approved age verification schemes, and will mean individuals must comply with the National ID Register for life.
And it does seem odd that the government has been reduced to encouraging youngsters to sign up for the ID card, so that they can continue to binge drink. Then again, this is the same government that brought in round the clock drinking, so they can’t be all bad.
If you’re in Manchester and you’re subjecting yourself to the ID card process, do let us know how you get on.
By John Leyden
EU agency runs rule over ID cards for online banking logins
A study by an EU cybersecurity agency into the use of electronic identity cards for online banking has highlighted seven types of vulnerability and 15 possible threats.
ENISA (the European Network and Information Security Agency) compared the suitability of smart eID cards to other authentication techniques for online banking, such as two-factor authentication and the use of mobiles to send out transaction authorisation codes.
ID cards can be applied to the world of online banking but seven classes of risks need to be taken into account before rolling out the technology. These problem include flaws in smart card design, weak or flawed cryptography protocols, keylogging Trojans or other malware on PCs used for internet banking, and card theft.
ENISA also suggests that a standardised approach to authentication using ID cards is needed before they can be widely used for online banking or other sensitive applications, such as accessing government services. Better standards for integration between smartcard readers and PCs are among the technologies that need to be developed and widely adopted before the technology can really take off, it suggests. Privacy concerns are a further complicating factor.
Despite its caution, ENISA wants national ID cards to become as flexible and as multi-purpose as possible, adding “[the] universally applicable eID card is technologically feasible.” The report doesn’t address the question of whether this is desirable.
Dr Udo Helmbrecht, executive director of ENISA, concludes: “Electronic identity cards offer secure, reliable electronic authentication to internet services, but banks and governments must cooperate better to be able to use national eID cards for banking purposes.”
ENISA’s 41 page paper on national ID cards and electronic banking, which provides a comprehensive overview of authentication technologies and attack scenarios while being a bit light on conclusions, can be found here.