Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Fingerprints and identity

The laptop issued me by Natural England for which I werk has a fingerprint recognition swiper. Theoretically, this saves the owner the bother of remembering passwords etc and also means only they have access to the machine. There have been ghoulish speculations that any baddie really wanting to break into the system/steal the machine would chop off the unlocking finger, in an unromantic update of the Tom Lehrer song.

My problem is that, as far as the machine recognition is concerned, I just don't seem to have any fingerprints. At least, none that it can recognise. Perhaps it's soft feminine skin; perhaps they've been worn away by gardening, or swimming.

But when it comes to bio-metrics for ID cards, passports, credit etc -- am I a non-person? And how many other women, blokes, children also have finger whorls too faint and soft, or worn and cracked, to be reliably readable as identity markers?

1 comment:

  1. The Tom lehrer song:
    "I hold your hand in mine, dear
    I raise it to my lips,
    I take a healthy bite, dear
    of your tender finger tips
    My joy would be complete, my dear
    I you were only here,
    But still I hold your hand in mine, my dear
    As a precious souvenir..."