All change at the UKPCA – the UK Press Card Authority, where the BPPA is one of the card issuing gatekeepers. At today’s meeting they voted nemo contra for two fundamental reforms.
The meeting faced two problems. First, Custom Card, who administer the card on behalf of the gatekeepers, had detected two duplicate applications for the card from one individual through two different gatekeepers using subtly different details! The database relies on these details and the fraudulent application was only spotted because both applications came in on the same day with the same photograph. Fraudulent information undermines the integrity and security of the entire system. Clearly the case for independent verification of personal information is overwhelming.
Secondly the UKPCA had been approached by Downing Street police, asking in the nicest possible way what we could do about security generally, and saying they got on well with the regular photographers, but they’d had complaints from them about people getting in with Demotix cards, some of whom did not appear to be even taking any pictures!
Demotix cards – the ones that look surprisingly, alarmingly, you might even suspect deliberately, just like ours.
Custom Cards wanted to activate the card chips, which all UKPCA cards now carry, in full – all data, not just pin numbers (the phone line verification for which is not 24 hours). And they now have an app which would allow police to check card holders instantly and speedily. That would take care of any confusion over those Demotix cards looking so much like ours, because they just don’t have one. And avoid what one photographer recently went through in Downing Street – 45 minutes while police checked him out.
So why on earth hasn’t this been done before? The chips are all there, all ready, we all pay for them….answer, because the NPA and NS simply refused to cooperate. That’s now history. The vote’s been taken. All gatekeepers must now accept fully working chips as a condition of remaining gatekeepers. Custom Card will now switch them on, and distribute the app.
Back to personal information – the other major change. From today, for verification purposes, all applications for the press card must be supported with the number, and a scan, of either passport or driving licence. Speaking for myself, I cannot imagine why anyone thinks this such a big deal – every year I submit both my passport and driving licence numbers three times, to get into the major party conferences. And have always thought it absurd that I have to meet a higher standard of security vetting to get into those than I do to stand all day outside No.10.
These two long overdue, vital changes will improve both the security and the authority of the – our – press card. And make card checks easier , faster, and painless for all concerned. Job done.