London, January 30, 2003 – As
the Government explores ways of establishing citizens’ entitlement
to receive public services, a new NOP survey, conducted
on behalf of SchlumbergerSema, reveals that UK
citizens support the introduction of entitlement
cards with an almost four to one majority.
The independent survey *(see footnote) found that
almost 60% of the population strongly agreed with
the idea of entitlement cards while a further 20%
agreed. Only 16% disagreed to any extent. Moreover,
these statistics showed relatively little variation
by social class, by age group or indeed by extent
of internet usage, which suggests a broad consensus
spanning the so-called "digital divide".
The most frequently given reasons for approving
the idea - quoted by around one in four respondents
in each case – were to address fraud, to enhance
control of illegal immigration and a general view
that making it easier to identify individuals was
a good thing.
When asked about the kind of information that they
would be happy to see stored on a card, at least
two thirds of respondents in each case, were happy
for driving licence number, passport number, national
insurance number, national health service number
and emergency medical information, such as blood
type or serious allergies, to be included on the
card. Indeed, in the case of emergency medical information,
the percentage of respondents who were happy to have
such information on a card rose to almost 90%, while
only 3% were unhappy with data of any kind being
stored in this way.
“This pattern of response suggests a widespread
public understanding and approval of ways in which
a card storing a variety of data could offer advantages
to citizens in their dealings with public services,” said
Geoff Llewellyn, strategy and Government relations
Critical to the success of a scheme would be the
assurance that an entitlement card, once issued following
thorough checks on a person’s identity, could
not be fraudulently used by another person. In order
to “padlock” a card to its rightful owner,
and thus avoid this danger, the use of a personal “biometric” (i.e.
a unique characteristic of the individual such as
a fingerprint or an iris photograph) should be examined
and explored as a technique. This would give the
highest possible assurance in authenticating the
Asked to state a preference between fingerprints
or iris photography as the biometric to be employed,
almost 50% of respondents said they would prefer
iris photography with only 30% saying they would
prefer a fingerprint to be used. SchlumbergerSema
believes that this evident greater public acceptability,
coupled with a number of technical considerations,
argues strongly for the further exploration of non-intrusive
and easy-to-use biometrics technology, such as iris
photography, as the most appropriate biometric to
be employed for a full-scale entitlement card scheme.
Finally, when asked if they would expect to pay
for such a card, half of the respondents who agreed
with the idea said yes and would expect to pay around £20
for a card that lasted five years.
The results of this research support the SchlumbergerSema response to the Government’s
entitlement card consultation paper, due on Friday 31 January.
*NOP Research conducted telephone interviews with
1001 adults aged 15+, employing a quota sample between
17th - 19th January 2003
SchlumbergerSema is one of two business segments of Schlumberger Limited, a
global technology services company. With more than 30,000 employees serving
customers in 65 countries, SchlumbergerSema aggregates IT consulting, systems
integration, managed services and related products to the oil and gas, telecommunications,
energy and utilities, finance, transport and public sector markets. Leveraging
the Schlumberger DeXa* Suite of Services, it also provides IP network connectivity,
information security solutions, distributed computing support services and
data center hosting services. In 2002, Schlumberger revenues were $13.5 billion.
For more information, visit www.slb.com.
*Mark of Schlumberger
For further information contact:
Caroline Crouch Katherine Elmore-Jones
SchlumbergerSema Herald Communications
Tel: 020 7830 4233 Tel: 020 7340 6324
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com