By sizemore Last edited 130 months ago

The government's plans to bring in high tech ID cards may have to go back to the drawing board after a Guardian investigation showed that biometric data could be electronically attacked and cloned with a £174 microchip reader. We say may have to back to the drawing board because so far the only response to the investigation has been a shrug of the governmental shoulders.

Opposition parties have been quick to point out the irony in the failure of technology that was supposed to make identity theft more difficult:

Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, demanded a full recall. "Three million people now have passports that expose them to a greater risk of identity fraud than before.

It turns out that campaign group NO2ID and a computer expert took only 48 hours to crack the chips:

"The Home Office is using strong cryptography to prevent conversations between the passport and the reader being eavesdropped, but they are breaking one of the fundamental principles of encryption by using non-secret information published in the passport to create a 'secret key'. That is the equivalent of installing a solid steel front door to your house and putting the key under the mat."

Last Updated 17 November 2006