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NZers Support Biometrics to Protect Records

Kiwis Support New Zealand Ministry of Health, Inland Revenue and Banks Using Biometrics to Protect Personal Records, According to Unisys Research

New research shows New Zealanders exercise discretion about when the use of biometrics is appropriate for proving their identity

New Zealanders rank the New Zealand Ministry of Health, New Zealand Inland Revenue and their banks as the organisations they trust the most to use biometrics such as voice pattern recordings, fingerprints and iris scans, to prove their identity when accessing services, according to new national research released today by Unisys.

The research, conducted as part of the latest Unisys Security Index™, examined the willingness of New Zealanders to use biometrics to verify a person’s identity in different scenarios and with various organisations.

“This selective support is a sign of informed decision making by New Zealanders – an indication that the community has come a long way since biometrics were first introduced,” said Brett Hodgson, Managing Director, Unisys New Zealand.

“The Unisys Security Index research shows New Zealanders are discerning about what circumstances are appropriate for biometrics to be used for identity verification and the sorts of organisations that should use them.

“The research found that more than half of the New Zealand population is willing to use voice recordings, eye scans or fingerprints to prove their identity to access bank accounts (66 percent), health records (58 percent) and welfare payment information (55 percent). But the majority is not willing to use the same technology to pay bills (36 percent), use public transport (21 percent) or join a social club (25 percent),” Mr Hodgson explained.

Percentage of New Zealanders who said they would be prepared to use a biometric to prove their identity in the following scenarios:

• To access bank accounts – 66%
• To access health records – 58%
• To access welfare payments and information – 55%
• To access tax records or submit tax returns – 53%
• To access buildings – 45%
• To access and pay everyday bills – 36%
• To enrol in education classes – 27%
• To access public transport – 21%
• To sign up to join a club – 25%

“The findings show that support for the use of biometrics in New Zealand depends on the circumstance in which it is used. But support is also governed by which organisations would have access to the biometric information, as the research found a clear divide between those organisations which people are willing to trust with their biometrics and those which they are not,” said Mr Hodgson.

“The Ministry of Health (73 percent), banks (67 percent) and Inland Revenue (58 percent) are the organisations most supported by Kiwis to use biometric information to prove an individual’s identity. Apart from banks, New Zealanders generally are more willing to support government departments with their biometrics than commercial organisations,” he said.

Percentage of New Zealanders who said they would allow the following organisations to access their personal biometric information from a centralised body for identity verification:
• Ministry of Health – 73%
• Your bank - 67%
• Inland Revenue – 58%
• Other government departments you have dealings with – 50%
• Other commercial organisations you have dealings with – 14%
• None \ don’t know – 13%

“The research shows that New Zealanders will use biometrics if they trust the organisation and when there is a very clear benefit to individuals in having their identities verified, rather than for more trivial matters,” said Mr Hodgson.

“Unisys is an advocate of community awareness and education programs around security, identity and biometrics initiatives, and these results seem to indicate that there are good lessons to be learned from banks and government on how to get this right,” he said.

About the Unisys Security Index

The Unisys Security Index is a bi-annual global study that provides insights into the attitudes of consumers on a wide range of security related issues. Conducted in New Zealand by market research firm Consumer Link, the Unisys Security Index provides a regular, statistically robust measure gauging levels of concern about various aspects of security. The survey on which the latest New Zealand Unisys Security Index is based, was conducted nationally 13-19 September 2010 by Consumer Link using a nationally representative sample of 548 respondents aged 18 years and over. All results have been post-weighted to Statistics New Zealand census data. The study measures consumer perceptions on a scale of zero to 300, with 300 representing the highest level of perceived concern. For more information on the Unisys Security Index including additional resource material visit:

About Unisys
Unisys is a worldwide information technology company. We provide a portfolio of IT services, software, and technology that solves critical problems for clients. We specialise in helping clients secure their operations, increase the efficiency and utilisation of their data centres, enhance support to their end users and constituents, and modernise their enterprise applications. To provide these services and solutions, we bring together offerings and capabilities in outsourcing services, systems integration and consulting services, infrastructure services, maintenance services, and high-end server technology. With approximately 23,000 employees, Unisys serves commercial organisations and government agencies throughout the world. For more information, visit

About Unisys Asia Pacific
In Asia Pacific, Unisys delivers services and solutions through subsidiaries in Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, and Taiwan and through distributors or resellers in other countries in the region. Visit .
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