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A Multi-Year Study of Public Attitudes to the use of Biometrics in Transport Smartcard Schemes.

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Phil BlytheORCiD


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The use of smartcards as a payment and identity token has become widespread in recent years and is predicted to grow rapidly through the introduction of interoperable transport ticket payment. This move towards multi-application cards has led to a major concern regarding the need for authentication of the card owner and protection from identity theft. This paper proposes to present the results of a recent in depth study of public attitudes to the use of biometrics on transport smart cards. Options for the biometric used and how such a scheme should operate are included in the results and analysis. ABSTRACT The use of some form of unique trait or characteristic of an individual as a means of uniquely identifying or, at least, authenticating the identity of the individual of an individual may take many forms. Biometrics is one such form which relies on the physical or behavioural-characteristics of the individual. Obviously the ability to measure the biometric may vary greatly between type of biometric in terms of both speed and intrusion. The paper initially makes the case for biometrics and initially reviews the methods available for biometric identification. Each is discussed, assessed and ultimately ranked for their appropriateness for the transport card environment. This is followed by a discussion on identity theft and why this is now seen by Governments as a major problem which is predicted to increase many fold with the wider use of ICT and ITS systems. A framework for the use of authentication is then presented for a broad spread of the main transport application areas where smartcards may be deployed. Following these background sections the design of a questionnaire for testing public attitudes to the use of biometrics as an additional authentication tool for smartcards is described. This is followed by a presentation of results the attitudinal study which were undertaken initially in the summer of 2002 and followed up by a second round of surveys in the Autumn of 2003 (to determine whether attitudes had changed since the announcement of UK ID cards from the home office, DVLA and passport office have been made) Finally the paper will presents conclusions on the study and recommendations for the future use of biometric authentication on transport smartcards.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Blythe PT

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Unknown

Conference Name: ITS-UK Summer Conference

Year of Conference: 2004