CCIE Pursuit Blog

December 5, 2007

Smile, Cisco Wants Your Picture

This was in my inbox the other day:

Cisco and Pearson VUE Improve Security Innovations in Global Test Delivery
As the marketplace for skilled technology workers expands around the globe, employers are expecting greater assurance that employees are presenting accurate certification records. To meet this demand, Cisco and Pearson VUE are changing the way IT certification exams are designed, delivered and secured.

Based on a study conducted earlier this year, we are implementing ongoing security enhancements in a series of planned upgrades. Cisco is now requiring that all VUE test centers delivering Cisco certification exams collect digital photos and digital signatures during the admissions process, in addition to the current identification requirements. This new layer of identity authentication will help to ensure candidate identity and result in increased assurance that individuals are presenting accurate certification records in the marketplace. The new authentication technology will be implemented in phases around the globe over the next year.

Looking ahead, Cisco and Pearson VUE will continue to innovate new ways to  protect the integrity of Cisco certification in the marketplace and combat exam fraud. We will continue to advise you of this initiative’s next steps in the coming year.  For further information, please refer to the Cisco Exam Policies Webpage, Customer Service FAQs, and Pearson VUE Admissions Flash Presentation.

I’m not sure what this accomplishes.  Every certification exam that I have ever taken requires you to produce two forms of photo ID and sign a couple of pieces of paper.  I presume that those documents are kept for at least a little while.  Having a copy of your digital photo and signature is really just a modernization of the existing “security checks”.  This information would only really come into play if Cisco suspected that you were taking the exam for someone else.  If you’re able to present passable photo fake ID(s) and allowed to take the test, then I’m not sure how Cisco having your photo and signature is going to make any difference.  Unless someone later accuses you of not actually taking your exam.

Oh well.  At least it’s a little less intrusive than Disneyworld.  🙂



  1. I have no objection to digital certs and photos under reasonable circumstances but this has nothing to do with ensuring certification integrity. Instead it’s all about Cisco/Pearson being able to take something away from the candidate, which literally costs them just about nothing, and turning around and selling it to pad their bottom line. The candidate is left with a “permanent record” which comes complete with all the risks of identity theft while Cisco/Pearson is free to mishandle the data as they see fit.

    Comment by Protocol_Droid — April 25, 2008 @ 3:29 pm | Reply

  2. As a test center, we understand your frustrations as a test taker. But you may not realize the degree of people trying to take exams for others in different parts of the world. Regarding your point about identity theft, i would recommend only taking tests somewhere that is well established and trustworthy. But we have to trust Pearson with our data.

    Comment by SitesPower Dubai Training Institute — June 24, 2008 @ 4:23 pm | Reply

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