Individual access and privacy controls

November 2010 Access Control & Identity Management

ATEC’s i-Dentifid keeps both estates and the privacy of individuals secure.

Reports in the press around the identity verification solutions used by certain residential estates, as well as their potential access to the Department of Home Affairs’ database, have raised the spectre of identity theft and other privacy concerns. It is vital that the public be made aware that not all identity verification solutions are the same.

ATEC Systems and Technologies, a provider of identity verification and access control technologies, points out that there are technologies unlike those systems that have caused the recent identity theft scare, such as its i-Dentifid solution, that utilises information that is readily available on the visitor’s driver’s licence.

“We have developed a product that uses a scanning device that scans the 2D barcode on the back of the licence. The information contained in this barcode is the same information that is displayed on the front of the driver’s licence. Our device simply ensures that it is placed in a manageable electronic format which is then kept for electronically searchable record purposes,” says ATEC’s chief commercial officer, Gerhard Loots. “We have also taken additional precautions to minimise the danger of identity theft. For example, the guard operating the device cannot see the identity number on the device, as it is only stored on the security server.”

Gerhard Loots
Gerhard Loots

In addition, access to this server is restricted to the client’s nominated party, a Home Owners Association (HOA) authorised individual which is usually the security or estate manager. Furthermore, all activity on the security server is monitored via a full log record system.

Proper access control is important, as it is necessary for security purposes. Should it be necessary to investigate an incident on the estate, being able to accurately track who entered at what time as well as who left and at what time becomes critical.

“It is easy enough to verify the information of residents, tenants and long term contractors or employees, as a thorough registration procedure coupled with a proper time-based access control system should be enough. It becomes more complex with visitors however. There are very few ways to verify that the information that is scribbled into the entrance book is correct,” says Loots.

“Although no system is 100% fault proof, we believe that at the very least this system is significantly more secure and less prone to potential identity theft than any physical log book system. After all, it is much easier to steal or to copy a log book than it is to steal a password protected secure server.”

Loots believes that the form of access control provided by i-Dentifid does not constitute a breach of privacy. No-one forces anybody to be a visitor on any estate. Should one choose to visit the estate, one has to comply with the access control rules of the estate in the same way that one has to comply with estate speed limits, which might differ from normal public roads. If one chooses not to comply, the estate may refuse to grant access – which would be well within their constitutional rights.

Loots points out that whilst one must have great respect for the privacy of the individual, the security rights of a collective group of individuals on their own property should and do take preference, where proper consent has been obtained. The privacy concerns of individuals are addressed by ensuring that private information is securely stored and not made available to any outside parties other than those have a direct interest in the security of the estate.

“One of ATEC’s core values is dedicated to ensuring that privacy and security is upheld and that our systems are designed to balance these sometimes conflicting rights,” says Loots. “As such, we believe that by only allowing access to the captured information to HOA authorised individuals, and by ensuring that the captured information is correct and verified, that our solution remains true to these values.”

Assessing the identity verification process:

When trying to assess whether the identity verification process is safe, Loots suggests the following guidelines:

* Enquire as to the method of how the identity is verified. If the process involves an external database, familiarise yourself with the commercial model driving the verification process, namely, who pays for the access to the database?

* Enquire about who has what level of visibility to your personal information, especially your ID number.

* Enquire as to how access to the database is monitored.

For more information contact ATEC, +27 (0)21 851 5412,,

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