The Wall Street Journal reports that fingerprint readers are getting so much cheaper now that many businesses are turning to them for identification, access control and even payment systems. In Cash, Credit—or Prints?, the Journal notes that market-research firm International Biometric Group predicts that sales will rise 86 percent to $368 million this year. It outlines print-based systems in place at several businesses, from Corporate Safe Specialists to Piggly Wiggly grocery stores. Makes it look very efficient indeed.
Prints aren’t a panacea, the Journal acknowledges. Besides the expected privacy issues, the scanners don’t always work well in all cases. Tiny fingers, excessive pressure or especially dry skin make readings less reliable. Still, proponents say that improved software will eventually do away with these scanning issues. Privacy, as we’ve noted here before, will apparently have to fend for itself.
So, it looks like we’ll either be putting our body parts on machinery, or machinery in our body parts. See our brief report last month on transhumanism.
(Subscription required to access The Wall Street Journal online. Story in the Oct. 11 edition, page B1.)