Daily Mail forges the 'unforgeable'

Clare Coatman
7 August 2009

Yesterday the Daily Mail revealed that they have cloned a UK identity card. It took Adam Laurie (a hacker who has been used by government departments to guard against terrorism) a mere 12 minutes to successfully clone the card and falsify the information on the duplicate (using only a Nokia and a laptop – hardly criminal mastermind fare). He changed every item of information, from address to fingerprints and entitlement to benefits. He then added a message that would be seen by anyone who scanned the card: 'I am a terrorist - shoot on sight.'

He used one of the 51,000 ID cards issued by the Home Office to foreign nationals currently working or studying in Britain. While the proposed National Identity Scheme cards would differ slightly, according to the UK Identity and Passport Service, 'It is the same technology,' and, 'It is just the façade that is different.' As the Daily Mail succinctly put it, 'This does not augur well.'

When the Home Office was informed, a spokesman said, 'We are satisfied the personal data on the chip cannot be changed or modified and there is no evidence this has happened. The identity card includes a number of design and security features that are extremely difficult to replicate. We remain confident that the identity card is one of the most secure of its kind, fully meeting rigorous international standards.'

Adam Laurie said, 'My real concern is that if someone falls victim to an identity theft of the type we have demonstrated, it is going to be very hard for them to prove their innocence if that forged card is subsequently used to commit a crime. After all, the Government claims that the technology is foolproof.'

This development may shed a new light on reports that Peter Mandelson is preparing to become Prime Minister. Perhaps New Labour itself is a forgery...

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