Elderly fingerprints compromise ID cards

The difficulty in scanning elderly people’s fingerprints could compromise the government’s ID cards scheme, a leaked report has revealed.

The Biometrics Assurance Group – a collection of industry figures, academics and Whitehall officials who advise minister on biometric technology – says it is “hard to obtain good quality fingerprints” from people over the age of 75 due to a lack of definition in the ridges on the pads of their fingers.

The group’s report advises the government to use iris scans on those people whose fingerprints are unreadable, but warns such a move will end up costing the taxpayer more money.

The secondary measures will have a “large impact not only on the technical elements of the scheme but on businesses processes, schedules and costs,” the report says.

Phil Booth, national coordinator of No2ID, said: “Suggestions manual checks will suffice every time the computer says ‘no’ begs the question, what is the point of the system in the first place?”