Verbatim email to

Dear British Council,

While going over emails related to my taking of the IELTS test, I came across the disturbing news that you are in the process of implementing a mandatory scheme of finger scanning for candidates.

According to your "IELTS candidate identity verification" page (Update: sorry, the link is dead) "[T]est centres in these countries will advise candidates before they register that finger scanning is in place." I have received no information to that effect. Please advise as to whether finger scanning is (or will be) mandatory in Switzerland in 2012. If it is (or will be) mandatory, I shall on the grounds of basic decency have to refuse to take the test with your organization.

A disappointed customer

Got a reply the next morning:

Dear Mr. Engmark,

Thank you for sharing your concerns with us. New security measures (finger scanning and / or photography taken on the day) are in place in all the IELTS exam centres to deter candidates who ask somebody else to take the exam for them, hoping to get a higher score.

While we are happy that in Switzerland the number of attempted identity frauds has been insignificant, we have to be prepared and act in line with the global standards. Therefore we have already introduced the test day photography (which means that a photo of each candidate is taken on the day of the test, and this photo will be printed on the Test Report Form). We have not introduced the finger scanning, and do not have plans to do so.

I hope this information will be of help in your decision of taking IELTS with the British Council in Switzerland. Please see further details on registration and available practice materials on

Thank you again and have a great week ahead!

Best regards,
[redacted] | Exams Services Manager | British Council Switzerland

And my response:

Thank you very much for the quick and informative response; I will attend.

A relieved customer

I guess it might have more to do with the country in which the test is done than the British Council themselves. Good to know.