US exam candidates raise fears over fingerprinting

The US professional body for accountants,
has rejected criticisms that its introduction of fingerprinting of exam
candidates was imposed in a rush.

Institute members received an e-mail campaign protesting about the new
requirement, saying that it was introduced without prior notice,

‘It was widely publicised a year ahead of time. One member has started a
campaign against it,’ said AICPA president and CEO Barry Melancon.

He said the requirement was a necessity, as some people had been discovered
taking the multi-part test for other CPA candidates.

Melancon said state leaders had been alerted about the new exam requirements
and there had been more than 100,000 downloads on the AICPA web site about them.
He also noted other standardised exams use fingerprinting, including the Medical
College Admission Test, Law School Admission Test and Graduate Management
Admission Test.

However, US members at the CPA’s spring council meeting raised concerns about
the selection of ChoicePoint for compiling the database. The company was victim
of a high-profile data breach in 2005 when identity thieves were able to set up
bogus accounts. The company has since taken steps to fix its security, is now
owned by Reed Elsevier.

There was also disagreement about how long ChoicePoint and Prometric would be
holding the data. AICPA officials emphasised that the companies will hold the
fingerprinting information for five years only. But one member in attendance
said that he had received contradictory information when he phoned the AICPA and
Prometric about this point.

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