Butler Group: Civil liberty barrier to single digital ID cards

Butler Group: Civil liberty barrier to single digital ID cards

UK-based IT analyst firm Butler Group predicts that while technology now exists that can create a single digital identification card able to handle our everyday needs, a nation-wide roll-out will be delayed because of civil liberty concerns.

The new Butler Group report, "Digital Identities: The Single Touch Point for E-Commerce", states that digital identification and smart card technology has advanced to the stage where multiple applications can be included within a single smart card. This makes it possible to provide a single digital identification card that could handle many functions, such as a driving licence, passport, medical record, debit card and even a key.

However, the report questions whether multi-functionality in the digital recognition service arena could ever be allowed to take off in any significant or consistent way, due to concerns over issues of personal security, privacy and confidentiality.

Andrew Kellett, senior research analyst at Butler Group, believes: "The memory and storage capacity of today's digital recognition systems already allows significant scope for multi-functional operations. Technically, there could be a multi-purpose digital identity card on the market today. But the importance placed upon an individual's single digital identity is of too high a value to be encapsulated within a single entity."

A number of projects are already in place within the financial community which have combined the use of smart cards in order to allow users to undertake debit and credit card transactions, hold electronic purse values and pay for travel on public transport systems.

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