Concerns Raised Over Security of UK's Universal Credit System

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Ministers in the UK are expressing concern over the potential for fraud and identity theft connected to Universal Credit, the country's new Web-based welfare system.

"Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and welfare reform minister Lord Freud were grilled by the Work and Pensions Select Committee over the new programme, designed to take over and merge separate public-funded payouts such as jobseeker's allowance and housing benefits," writes The Register's Brid-Aine Parnell. "Lord Freud admitted that he saw online security as a risk and worried about being able to prove people's identities online to stop benefit fraud."

"Appearing before a Commons inquiry into the reform, Lord Freud ... was asked what was the biggest risk to the program," writes The Telegraph's James Kirkup. "'I’ll say what the challenges are, what we need to get right: to get the security system working properly,' he said. Private security companies will be commissioned to develop a system of 'identity assurance' to check that only real claimants can get benefits."

"Lord Freud, parliamentary under-secretary of state for welfare reform, said online security was a risk to the introduction of the universal credit," writes The Guardian's Amelia Gentleman. "The department was focusing on identity and potential cyberfraud to make sure the system was 'utterly robust.' Security systems developed by banks were being adopted, and the government was in talks with Amazon to learn from its online security measures, he said."

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