NHS management pushes for biometric authentication

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Senior NHS managers are pushing for biometric technology in the service's new national network, which is due to begin implementation next month.

Speaking at the Secure Britain conference in London today (Wednesday), John Doyle, the national security manager for NHSnet, described the development of the new N3 network that will gradually replace the existing 10-year-old network that designed mainly to support adminstration and funds transfer between parts of the NHS.

The contract for N3 was awarded in February to BT and involves a three-year migration to the new higher powered nwtwork that will link all parts of the NHS, plus a large number of outside bodies such as hospices, the Department of Helath and prison hospitals.

With up to 1.2 million users connecting to the network, Doyle admitted that tradtional password protection would be inadequate to prevent identity theft. "For in-patent care, we will be using smart cards and a PKI systems, but some of us are pushing biometrics," he said.


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