Identification Processes in the Higher Education Sector: Risks and Countermeasures

By Smith, Russell G | Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, December 2005 | Go to article overview

Identification Processes in the Higher Education Sector: Risks and Countermeasures


Smith, Russell G, Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice


One of the most intractable crime problems that has arisen in the twenty-first century concerns the criminal misuse of identity - popularly known as identity fraud or identity theft. Computer technologies have enabled documents used to verify an individual's identity to be altered or counterfeited with ease, leading to a problem which, in 2001-02, was estimated to cost $1.1 billion in Australia alone (Cuganesan & Lacey 2003). The higher education sector is not immune from risks of identity-related fraud and other kinds of dishonest practices, and, as this paper demonstrates, risks are present throughout the sector - from enrolment of students, through the examination process, upon qualification, and during subsequent employment. Reducing the risks associated with identification of students and staff alike entails the employment of a wide range of strategies that need to be implemented uniformly across the entire sector. This paper analyses the nature of the problem and how government, business and individuals can share in the task of preventing identity thieves from enrolling and graduating dishonestly.

Toni Makkai

Director

In undergoing higher education, as well as in conducting many business transactions, people are required to establish who they are by providing evidence of unique identifying characteristics. It is usual to produce or disclose something that you have (tokens), something that you know (knowledge), something related to who you are (biometrics), or something indicating where you live (location). Of course there are others, such as the use of a person's name, and a variety of behavioural and psychological characteristics that can be used to identify people. Depending upon the degree of certainty with which one needs to establish one's identity, one or more of these methods may be relied upon. Often only one method will be used, and this will generally involve the disclosure of a document. Each has its own vulnerabilities and risks which are able to be exploited by those who want to act illegally.

In the past, identity was more easily verifiable as people conducted most of their transactions in person. With the advent of computers, however, documents can easily be fabricated and personal information obtained from electronic databases either by gaining access without authority, or by tricking unsuspecting users into disclosing their access codes and passwords. In higher education, examples of identity-related fraud and other dishonest practices exist in all aspects of the sector extending from enrolling as a student, undergoing examinations and submitting essays, commencing employment as a staff member, paying fees, receiving salaries, and using technology. There is a continuing need to identify both new students and staff with accuracy and the task for university administrators is considerable. In 2004, for example, 284,184 new students enrolled in Australian universities, 66,494 from overseas (Winchester & Lacey 2003: 194). In 2004, there were also 91,905 staff employed in Australian universities (Department of Education, Science and Training 2004). Evidence is needed of previous qualifications and/or eligibility to enrol for new students; previous employment and qualification details for new staff; as well as identification necessary for conducting business transactions including payment of fees and receiving payments such as salaries.

In Australia, a wide range of documents may be used to establish identity. Included amongst them are student identity cards, 358,700 of which were issued by higher educational institutions in 2002-03 - many with rudimentary forms of security against alteration or counterfeiting. One recent study found that of the 16 state and territory Offices of Births, Deaths and Marriages, and driver licence issuing agencies, 15 of these organisations accepted student identity cards and/or statements of results as proof of a person's identity for purposes such as building access, computer access, library usage, public concessions, and examinations.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Identification Processes in the Higher Education Sector: Risks and Countermeasures
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.