Feeds

MPs call for ID theft czar

October revolution aims to topple cybercrime kingpins

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

UK politicians are calling for the creation of an identity theft "czar" to lead the fight against the growing form of crime.

The Parliamentary All Party Group on Identity Fraud said the role is needed to co-ordinate work by the government, police, and private sector.

The committee of MPs also want police to appoint dedicated identity fraud officers and want to see a government-backed identity fraud awareness campaign, aimed in particular at young adults, a group reckoned to be particularly careless in disposing of bank statements and credit card receipts. MPs suggested social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace might provide a suitable venue for getting the message across.

Hmmm.

Industry, most notably the banking sector, has being active for years in advising on steps to safeguard against ID theft. When the government talks about identity theft it's usually in terms of justifying the supposed need for an identity card scheme.

Appointing dedicated identity fraud officers appears to be even more of a non-starter. Last April police stopped taking reports of credit card fraud, instead advising victims to report crimes to their bank. Police resources are stretched, at the best of times, and resources in the investigation of cybercrime (with a few notable exceptions) tend to get pushed towards identifying and dealing with the victims and perpetrators of child abuse.

Last year more than 170,000 cases of identity fraud were logged. The crime is reckoned to cost the economy approximately £1.7bn a year, the BBC reports. MPs in the committee, which was convened last year, urged tougher sanctions against organisations that place people's personal data in danger.

Nigel Evans, chair of the group, said: "Throughout the course of this study the group has been stunned by the damage identity fraud is having on the lives of our constituents across the country. Identity fraudsters have had it too easy for too long."

Explaining the need for a publicity campaign and greater police action, Evans told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "A third of people throw out sensitive material without so much as tearing it in half, and there is such a thing as bin raiding... 22 of 36 police forces in England don't have ID fraud in their local policing plan."

UK fraud protection body CIFAS reckons only one in 100 cases of ID thefts are investigated by police.

But Sandra Quinn, of banking industry association APACS, expressed doubts about whether an ID theft czar to co-ordinate policy would help. "What we are really looking for is all industries working together and that has to be the solution to the problem," she said.

Publication of the MPs' report coincides with the National Identity Fraud Prevention Week, which begins on Monday. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.