Introduction of a national ID card in Australia could cost theeconomy up to A$15 billion, according to the latest estimates fromthe Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).

This cost, the ACCI said, would be largely borne by the businesssector, over and above the estimated A$750 per person it would costto introduce the system.

While experts admit the introduction of such a card will do littleto stop terrorism, the federal government is moving ahead with anidentity card inquiry.

Smartcards, as they are generally known, are currently in use inHong Kong and plans for a national ID card in the UK has led towidespread debate.

Microsoft’s national technology officer in the UK, Jerry Fishenden,said a centralized national ID card could lead to “huge potentialbreaches” and leaks of personal information.

Fishenden, in an interview with, said he is worriedabout both the current architecture and the biometrics used.

“I have concerns with the current architecture and the way it looksat aggregating so much personal information and biometrics in asingle place,” Fishenden was quoted as saying.

“There are better ways of doing this. Even the biometrics industrysays it is better to have biometrics [electronic fingerprints]stored locally.”

Ben Shephard, smartcard business development manager with Keycorp,said the smartcards themselves are the best method to retain andstore individual biometric information. Keycorp has just finishedimplementing a smartcard project across the Turkish military.

Ed Elliff, enterprise executive manager for Verisign, said mostsmartcard applications have used digital credentials toauthenticate the user and then open up a backend application -where the security should be well and truly failsafe.

“In that instance if someone manages to crack what is on thesmartcard it is extremely unlikely they will get at the dataitself,” Elliff said.

“The security focus should be on the database and the back endsystem.”

Grant Allan, spokesperson for security implementation firmInterface Pacific, said smartcards are 1000 times more secure thana magnetic stripe card.

(With additional reporting from Sandra Rossi.)

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