Data protection experts warn new Public Services Card could lead to identity theft

Data protection experts are worried the new public services card could lead to identity theft.

They say the personal details it stores could be dangerous in the wrong hands.

The Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty has promised the information will be shared with 50 government bodies to help people access State services, and will not be shared beyond that.

The department also rejected any description of the services card as a national identity card. “The public services card is a card for accessing public services only,” it said.

Chairman of Digital Rights Ireland T.J. McIntyre said very little effort would be needed to hack the card.

"The card in its current format as I understand it has a magnetic code reader on it, so you can run it through the magnetic reader and take the data from it," he said.

Other information, such as mother's maiden name, is believed to be stored on the card's chip, which can be better secured.

Paschal Donohoe with a representation of the public services card.

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