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Consumer Concern to Drive Developments in Security

News Release

2008 – Consumer Concern to Drive Developments in Security
No longer need to choose between privacy and security – you can have both

- Consumer demand for convenience to drive identity verification innovation

- Opt-in authentication methods for greater convenience and cultural sensitivity

- Draft Immigration Bill proposes collection and storage of biometric info

In 2008 increased consumer fear of identity fraud and a focus on financial, personal and national security will drive innovations in identity authentication amid debate between personal privacy concerns and the community’s need to be protected from threats, predicts information services company Unisys.

“The right to privacy is fundamental but it is evolving subtly as consumers expect to be protected against today’s constantly changing security environment. While privacy versus security was once seen as an automatic trade-off, they are starting to be viewed as ‘necessary bedfellows’, to allow governments to protect their citizens and companies to safeguard their customers,” said Brett Hodgson, Managing Director, Unisys New Zealand.

“The reality is this – technology-based security improvements can enhance our privacy, convenience and choice. But governments and business need to clearly convey the facts to consumers. In 2008 the debate will shift from having to choose either privacy or security, to how to best collect, distribute and share information by public and private organisations in the interests of security. The draft Immigration Bill, which proposes the collection and storage of biometric information, is a vital step in this transition,” Mr Hodgson said.

New Zealanders rank unauthorised access and misuse of personal information and credit/debit card details, closely followed by personal security, as their top security concerns1.

“While identity attacks are getting more sophisticated, we have to be honest with ourselves that as consumers we are making the job easier for criminals by readily, although often unwittingly, publishing personal information online as we seek convenient environments to shop, bank, play games and even network with friends. With such convenience comes the need to find better ways to prove that we are who we say we are and to do so securely. The public needs to accept that this requires stringent security processes – they may seem inconvenient but they’re necessary,” Mr Hodgson said.

Accurate identity verification is the central security issue that impacts both privacy of information and border control. Unisys predicts the following developments in identity authentication in 2008:

1) Opt-in for faster identification
Most current physical identification and biometric security methods require close proximity to the scanning device whether it is based on voice, iris, fingerprint or vascular (vein imaging). Unisys predicts the development of technologies that allow individuals to opt in to be scanned from a distance which could be applied in a number of ways such as to provide faster verification and ‘walk-through’ access to secure areas. This would be an extension of recent innovations such as the Unisys Registered Traveller program which permits frequent fliers to obtain a biometric credential - a unique identifier, such as a fingerprint or iris scan - to navigate airport security checkpoints more efficiently without compromising security standards.

2) Offering multiple options for identity verification to allow for cultural needs
As formal identity checks become more mainstream, with a wide choice of identity recognition techniques already available, there is capacity to offer a choice of verification methods to allow for cultural sensitivities. For example, you would not be required to lift a religious face veil or niqab to match a photo ID if you were able to opt for a vascular scan instead.

3) Instant DNA analysis for a wide range of applications
DNA analysis may seem the realm of crime novels and television shows, where evidence is sent off to a distant lab and results are eagerly awaited. However, we will start to see the development of fast DNA analysis technologies and mobile formats for ’on the spot’ analysis where individuals have agreed to register their DNA profiles. Such a technique could be used to manage identity authorisation at access points that people repeatedly enter and exit such as a high security work area.

1Unisys Security Index: New Zealand – August 2007
For full details of all results of the Unisys Security Index for New Zealand, please go to


About Unisys Asia Pacific
Unisys offers clients solutions for secure business operations by aligning technology with business strategy. Drawing on a history of industry innovation and expertise, Unisys provides specialised services, delivered by trusted consultants. In Asia Pacific, Unisys delivers services and solutions through subsidiaries in New Zealand, Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand and through distributors or resellers in other countries in the region. For more information, visit

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