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04 December 2006, 22:57

Report claims identity theft could slow the growth of internet trade

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The abundance of websites which require visitors to enter a name and password could, according to the ITU, a UN organisation, increase the risk of falling victim to identity fraud. The International Telecommunication Union warns, in its "Internet Report 2006:", that the large number of sites requiring a login makes it unavoidable that users will reuse login names and passwords. In addition there are more and more websites which are completely unusable if the user is not willing to permit some kind of tracking activity - even if this is just a cookie.

This all increases the risk of security incidents in which access or authorisation data are copied by fraudsters and used for their own nefarious purposes. The British government estimates losses from identity fraud at around 1.7 billion pounds per year, the USA cited a figure of 6.4 billion dollars earlier this year. There is a need for government and regulatory bodies that can find a uniform way for users to surf the net, risk-free, with a universal digital ID. This needs to happen quickly, as many users already feel unsafe on the internet. Otherwise there may be a negative effect on future expansion of online trade.

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