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Naked Science: The State of Identity

It is hoped that ID cards will tackle serious crimes including terrorism, drug trafficking, identity theft and illegal immigration. But do we really need them, or want them? The Dana Centre will tackle the issues surrounding the introduction of Identity Cards in a public debate. The introduction of cards aims to create a sense of shared citizenship and belonging. They will also help ensure that government services are only by used by those entitled to them and tackle problems faced by society today. However, just how reliable and accurate are they in identifying individuals and how will we prevent fraud and identity theft? Will identity cards infringe on our civil liberties or will they successfully tackle the problems at large in society?


Are identity cards a convenient extension of current identification documents or an infringement of civil liberties? Discuss your views with experts and campaigners from all sides.

Identity cards will be introduced in the UK within two years and, under current plans, will be compulsory by 2013. Experts hope that the cards will tackle crimes including terrorism, drug trafficking, identity theft and illegal immigration. But will they? According to a poll by Mori earlier this year, 80 per cent of the public are in favour of identity cards. Do you agree? This is your chance to discuss these issues and more with representatives from all sides.

Each card will be a hi-tech smart card that will contain a computer chip, be machine-readable and record personal biometric information. Biometric information is a unique measure of some aspect of your body, such as your iris or fingerprint. Fingerprinting is the best known and most established type of biometric testing. Newer - and often more accurate - forms include iris scans, hand geometry, voice recognition and digitised images. Current identity card trials are using facial, iris and fingerprint identifiers.

To have an iris scan, for example, you have to peer into an infrared scanner, which records an image of one of your irises. This is then processed by dividing the image into hundreds of squares and measuring the light intensity in each one. These measurements are converted it into a string of digits - your 'biometric reference template' - and stored on a central database. When you need to prove your identity, a fresh scan is taken and processed, and the resulting data is matched to the stored reference template. If the two are sufficiently similar, your ID is authenticated.

ID cards have become 'smarter' as a result of the availability and lowered cost of tiny microprocessors suitable for wallet-sized cards. This technology allows multiple applications to be stored on the same tiny card.

It will not be compulsory to carry the card at all times, as in some countries, but if you're challenged you may be required to produce it within a few days. If you refuse to register for an identity card you could be fined up to £2500. You'll also have to pay for the card to be created in the first place.

The introduction of the cards aims to create a sense of shared citizenship and belonging. However, just how reliable and accurate are they in identifying individuals and how will we prevent fraud and identity theft? If you don't feel you have enough information just yet and if you want your voice heard in this topical debate then come to the Dana Centre and be part of this evening.


Speaker(s):

Dominic Bascombe | talks | www
Karen Chouhan | talks | www
Gareth Crossman | talks | www
Neil Fisher | talks | www
Stephen Harrison | talks | www

 

Date and Time:

27 October 2004 at 7:00 pm

Duration:

1 hour 30 minutes

 

Venue:

Dana Centre
165 Queen's Gate
London
SW7 5HE
+44 20 79 42 40 40
http://www.danacentre.org.uk
Show map

Organised by:

Science Museum
See other talks organised by Science Museum...

 

Tickets:

Free

Available from:

Tickets are FREE but must be pre-booked on: 020 7942 4040 or tickets@danacentre.org.uk

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