Government acts on Land Registry fears
Downloads reduced on fraudster fears
The government is stopping downloads of some documents from the Land Registry website following newspaper reports that the site was being exploited by fraudsters.
The Mail on Sunday reported criminal gangs have stolen £12m by downloading documents from the site and using them to commit mortgage frauds.
From midnight tonight you will not be able to download scanned documents - the fear seems to be that criminals were downloading documents in order to get access to scanned signatures on documents.
The website offers information on 20 million registered properties in England and Wales. For a £3 payment you could download copies of title register, title plan or £10 or £20 for copies of leases.
From tomorrow anyone wanting such documents will have to apply in writing or visit a Land Registry office.
A spokeswoman for the Land Registry told the Reg: "You will still be able to see title register and plans but not documents referred to on the register like leases. You can still see these documents but you will need to apply in writing or in person at an office."
There's more from the Mail here, but do watch out for the startling and mildly disturbing picture of Tory MP Peter Lilley.
The Land Registry statement is here. ®
Doesn't govt infosec policy require a risk assessment before systems are developed? Blind Freddy should have seen this one coming. Too much to hope that the moron concerned will be sacked for incompetance.
Land Titles are the Crown Jewels of developed economies. If the land title system ceases to be trustworthy then the economy of the affected country has had it. Welcome to the third world.
Filling in the blanks
If its the signatures that are the problem, why not blank them out?
Shouldn't be too difficult to semi-automate, assuming the signatures appear in a defined place (usually the end) rather than being scattered randomly throughout the documents.
Of course, the long term answer is not to scan any future documents but to require them to be created online in the first place. That would make it much easier to create a "safe to distribute" version for online download, omitting such parts as might be considered a security risk.
Why didn't they just blank out the signature section
a) when scanning the original
or b) when fetching the image for display