Friday, November 19, 2010

While a new survey suggests almost a third of Australians are comfortable about providing a biometric to prove their identity when travelling on public transport, they shouldn’t according to the NSW Council of Civil Liberties. “People can catch a train with a ticket – why do they need a fingerprint?” asked president Cameron Murphy.

Unisys, which has already supplied a range of biometric identification systems in Australia, today released findings from its Security Index which found that beside the 29 per cent of people happy to provide a biometric to use public transport, 51 per cent would not object to providing a biometric to pay bills and 69 per cent agreed to the idea of using biometrics to access bank accounts.

Meanwhile 81 per cent of Australians indicated they would be happy for Medicare to access and store their biometric data, and three quarters thought it was OK for the Tax Office to have the same privileges.

Mr Murphy said that “These studies are produced from time to time by manufacturers” and that their findings often reflected the way the questions were posed, rather than painting a true picture of public opinion.

“I am sceptical about these findings,” he said, adding that in general Australians remained firmly opposed to wholesale biometric measurement and remained wary about the possibility of function creep.

“Who would object to medical records being stored on a card and taken from doctor to doctor? The problem is that governments then allow that to be used for purposes that people have not consented to...