Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Who Are You?

Where there is demand can supply be far behind?

As fingerprint scanners replace traditional card readers for clocking in and out at companies in China, the motivation to get around the fingerprint ID has increased. A Chinese company (unnamed in the Croatian Times article), takes your fingerprints by mail and for about $15, will send you back a silica gel replica of your fingertips. Says customer Xiao Liu:

We're fined 20 GBP every time we're late and I used to ask a friend to punch me in until my bosses switched to fingerprints. Now I've just given some copies of my fingerprints to people on the early shift and I'm never late no matter what time I get up.

This opens the door to people actually stealing your fingerprints, just like in the movies. I suppose that if fingerprint theft became prevalent then another company would pop up offering some medical procedure to modify your prints. It's all about supply and demand.

And in Austria, funeral company Bestattung Wien now offers amulets containing fingerprints of the deceased in addition to more traditional offering like death masks and diamonds made from the ashes of the deceased.

Of course you can see the biometric issues popping up here: take fingerprints of the dead, send them to the Chinese company and voila, now they can continue to punch into their job (and draw a paycheck) long after a normal body would be retired, memorialized and buried. Good work if you can get it, I suppose.

Croatian Times (photo)
Austrian Times (photo)

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