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Fingerprint Requirement For a Work-Study Job?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the dept-of-double-speak-is-closed-please-come-in dept.

Education 578

BonesSB writes "I'm a student at a university in Massachusetts, where I have a federal work-study position. Yesterday, I got an email from the office that is responsible for student run organizations (one of which I work for) saying that I need to go to their office and have my fingerprints taken for the purposes of clocking in and out of work. This raises huge privacy concerns for me, as it should for everybody else. I am in the process of contacting the local newspaper, getting the word out to students everywhere, and talking directly to the office regarding this. I got an email back with two very contradictory sentences: 'There will be no image of your fingerprints anywhere. No one will have access to your fingerprints. The machine is storing your prints as a means of identifying who you are when you touch it.' Does anybody else attend a school that requires something similar? This is an obvious slippery slope, and something I am not taking lightly. What else should I do?"

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578 comments

Contradictory (1, Informative)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214142)

I can think of a better way to write that:

Hey look, what's that behind you? It's much more interesting than any contradictions you might see in the following. There will be no image of your fingerprints anywhere. No one will have access to your fingerprints. The machine is storing your prints as a means of identifying who you are when you touch it. If you're still reading this, damn.

They don't store your actual fingerprint (4, Informative)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214494)

Not the image anyway. They store the relative positions of specific details of your print. 2 minutes on Google would have told you this.

The question remains though whether you want them to hold a representation (of any kind) of any part of your body on file.
 

Non-issue? (5, Interesting)

Fastolfe (1470) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214144)

I've used biometric scanners like this in the past. Whatever it stores to recognize your fingerprint never leaves the machine. I don't know if that's what's going on here, but it seems perfectly reasonable.

It's like storing a hash. (5, Insightful)

HiggsBison (678319) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214228)

Apparently what it is storing is a statistical summary of the biometric information (if that's not redundant). It doesn't store the fingerprints themselves anymore than an operating system will store your password. With the password, whatever you type in has to have a hash which matches the hash associated with your account. With the scanner, the summary generated each time you plop your hand on the scanner has to match (to a significant degree) the summary on file.

But, yes, if someone finds your fingerprints somewhere else, and they have access to this data, they can be reasonably certain it is you.

Re:Non-issue? (1)

Indiana Joe (715695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214262)

Biometric time clocks can be surprisingly cheap [chinavasion.com] . Mind you, you probably get what you pay for...

It's all stupid, and for stupid reasons (5, Informative)

gerf (532474) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214274)

Apparently if you visit Brazil, Europeans and Brazilians go through one line. Americans, we can all step over here to get fingerprinted, retina scanned, etc.

Why? We do it to them, so they do it back. F.

I sign in (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31214280)

I sign in with a sensor at the end of a foot long hole that only my huge wang can reach in and push. :D

Re:I sign in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31214354)

Pygmy feet? Ba dum ba, sorry couldn't resist ;)

Re:Non-issue? (1)

leadacid (1750220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214370)

It's not a question of whether it's reasonable for them to do this, it's whether you should have to put up with it. People now have a desperate yearning to believe that things are normal and get on with their lives, so they post all sorts of reasons why this is reasonable and good. It doesn't sound reasonable and good to me - if nothing else it will lead to both sides being ready for the next step later. The time hasn't come yet when this kind of thing will make your life intolerable. Will it lead to that? You have to decide. If there's a way around this, or to screw the system so it doesn't work or the people doing it regret it, I'd use it. I have yet to be fingerprinted, even by a totally safe system. And anyone who reads /. should know that there is no totally safe system, no matter how calm and reassuring that kool aid looks.

Re:Non-issue? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214592)

Eh? They just want your fingerprints so when you check in/out there's a high chance it was actually you, and not someone else claiming to be you. Not a perfect system - what system is? - but it works (you won't forget to bring a card; can't be trivially copied etc). Not sure what `safe` has to do with anything, unless you think you're likely to catch swine flu from touching a fingerprint reader or something.

What else should I do? (5, Insightful)

NfoCipher (161094) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214150)

Start looking for another job..

Re:What else should I do? (5, Interesting)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214202)

I agree .. if you don't like it .. don't do it. No one is forcing you to. Others may not have the same concerns and would be more than happy to do that job, so I'm sure it won't bother them too much.

I used to work at a job that required using an id card to clock in and out. If you left it at home it was a huge hassle to get a temporary id card. Forget it too many times and they started to take disciplinary action. I'd rather use my fingerprint to 'clock in' than try and remember to bring my id card every day when the only function of that card was to clock in and out.

Re:What else should I do? (1)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214408)

Forget it too many times and they started to take disciplinary action.

...put it in your wallet, or on a keyring (if you can hole punch it)?

Re:What else should I do? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214446)

Others may not have the same concerns...

Yes, it's those people who don't give a damn that will make it harder to get a desirable job without those requirements. Yeah, go ahead and take my rights. I'm not using them anyway. Resistance only makes things more difficult.

Re:What else should I do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31214502)

And with an economy that isn't doing that great, the employers can simply hire someone who is willing to comply. Trying to fight something like this might work better if the job is something where they can't just pick another person. Universities and colleges though are full of people who need a job.

find another job. (0, Troll)

ChapterS (666029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214154)

Please.

Re:find another job. (1, Insightful)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214524)

Listen, buddy, it's way past the point of 'find another job'.

This type of Orwellian crap comes directly from the same people who run the same banks that ran our economy into the ground, and who literally rob from the rest of us in order to support their stupid police-state bullshit.

Ten years ago, when the big banks started requiring fingerprints for everything, I might have said the same thing, "find another bank". In fact, that's what I did. Let me tell you what I got out of it: jack-fucking-shit.

Banks that aren't backed by the legal fraud of the Federal Reserve system don't get to print money out of thin air. They don't get to hand out million-dollar mortgages to illegal immigrants with no incomes. They don't get to fund companies and work-study jobs that have no chance of ever turning a profit.

They don't get to do any of those things because they have to operate within the laws and within economic reality and can't rob savers and taxpayers at every fucking opportunity.

So, don't tell the rest of us to 'find another job' as though we live in some type of free-market meritocracy that respects property rights or anything else for that matter.

Because, as far as I'm concerned, those who can't manage to stand up for others when their rights are being trampled can just find another fucking country at this point.

What University (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31214156)

If you want to get the word out, give out the name.

You're dumb (4, Insightful)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214158)

Its a time clock. Many jobs have them along with your address, phone number, date of birth, and social security number. Welcome to the working world. I could just as easily steal your fingerprints from your car door handle or the can you threw in the trash. After this fiasco don't expect the job offers to roll in.

Re:You're dumb (4, Informative)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214236)

Solutions like this are often used to prevent someone clocking-in for you. I used this type of solution at a sports club which used to go to, where you would enter your member number followed by you finger print. Chances are this is another closed system, so it the finger prints probably won't get much further than the database.

Re:You're dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31214246)

Correct. It is best to bend over with plenty of lube to anything any employer or potential employer wants from you. Workers rights? Fsck that! They KILL jobs! /sarcasm

PS. I think it may be time for new unions to start to be formed.

As long as you are assured that your privacy (4, Insightful)

ragethehotey (1304253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214160)

As long as you are assured that your privacy is protected...this is a huge non-issue. Fingerprint scanners are the best (In terms of ease of implementation) way to prevent people from clocking in and out for each other, even though they are obviously easily defeated by anyone sufficiently motivated.

Re:As long as you are assured that your privacy (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214546)

sufficiently motivated.

to press their finger against a piece of sellotape.

 

No contradiction. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31214172)

I checked into these before. The scanner records a description of your fingerprint, not the image. The description is used to match. It's a form of message digestion.

Most scanners of this type do not even record enough detail to qualify as evidence. Those that do must have their data shared with law enforcement, making them a hard sell as a biometric time card.

Re:No contradiction. (3, Interesting)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214504)

Most scanners of this type do not even record enough detail to qualify as evidence. Those that do must have their data shared with law enforcement,

Do they have to just volunteer all the data automatically, or only if law enforcement asks? (If the former, [citation needed].)

Re:No contradiction. (2, Informative)

Protocol16 (1706040) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214548)

Yup, exactly correct. Scanners will store a "hashed" version of your fingerprint based off of an algorithm. It just stores the "fingerprint" as a random string of data. The more secure versions store the hash on a Smart Card, which you have to authenticate against. The DoD uses this type of system on their ID cards for Contractors, Civilians and Military personnel. If you're worried about how bad this situation is, you need to watch a specific myth busters episode: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LA4Xx5Noxyo [youtube.com] Nothing to worry about, no privacy being broken, etc.

Welcome to the new world (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214178)

Same as the old one... My wife's workplace has this system. Works terribly but somehow it got past some CxO. Not sure if the privacy issue is a big deal however. You train the system in the system (if it's the same one). The print doesn't go out to the big Gov.

Not saying that they couldn't do that, but you do realize (being an aluminum foil shielded card carrying Slasdotter) that 'they' can get your fingerprints, DNA and bog knows what else without much of a problem these days.

Hell, at least it's pretty unlikely to show up on Facebook.

Disney World (2, Interesting)

crow (16139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214182)

At Disney World, they require finger prints when you enter the park if you want to be able to re-enter or switch to another park (if you have a ticket that allows that). At least the government doesn't directly get them, but who knows what they're doing with them or how long they keep them. (This was several years ago; I don't know if it's changed.)

Re:Disney World (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214434)

At Disney World, they require finger prints when you enter the park if you want to be able to re-enter or switch to another park (if you have a ticket that allows that). At least the government doesn't directly get them, but who knows what they're doing with them

Every night after the park closes, they dust every door handle to see who went where, and if anyone attempted to open "Employee Only" doors. Or maybe the park high mucky-mucks are fingerprint fetishists? Or maybe, just maybe, there's nothing sinister about it.

For the fossils (4, Funny)

stokessd (89903) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214196)

And friends, somewhere in Washington enshrined in some little folder, is a
study in black and white of my fingerprints. And the only reason I'm
singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar
situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if your in a
situation like that there's only one thing you can do and that's walk into
the shrink wherever you are ,just walk in say "Shrink, You can get
anything you want, at Alice's restaurant.".

Re:For the fossils (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31214250)

I cannot tell a lie. I put that envelope under that pile of garbage.

Re:For the fossils (1)

stox (131684) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214498)

And I went up there, I said, "Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I
wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and
guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill,
KILL, KILL." And I started jumpin up and down yelling, "KILL, KILL," and
he started jumpin up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down
yelling, "KILL, KILL." And the sargent came over, pinned a medal on me,
sent me down the hall, said, "You're our boy."

Re:For the fossils (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31214510)

And I went up there, I said, "Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I
wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and
guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill,
KILL! KILL!" And I started jumpin' up and down yelling, "KILL! KILL!" and
he started jumpin' up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down
yelling, "KILL! KILL!" And the sargent came over, pinned a medal on me,
sent me down the hall, said, "You're our boy."

Re:For the fossils (1)

arc_orion (1435105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214604)

I never thought I'd be considered a fossil at the age of twenty-four.

Acid (3, Funny)

EightBits (61345) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214200)

Use acid on your finger tips to remove the prints and use that for ID. The only problem is that you are now linked to hundreds of crimes where no traces of fingerprints were found. But at least they wont be able to identify YOU when they find your actual fingerprints somewhere.

Modern Fingerprint Scanners dont keep prints (4, Informative)

Tepshen (851674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214204)

The way that most modern fingerprint scanners work is by using matching algorithms. They scan your fingerprint and translate that into a numeric value and then store that. Not a copy of your fingerprint itself. This numeric value cannot be used to recreate your fingerprint but it can however be used to match the output that only your fingerprint will produce when scanned. To be perfectly candid its far easier to steal your fingerprints by stealing something you own than it is to take them from a fingerprint security/tracking system.

Re:Modern Fingerprint Scanners dont keep prints (1, Insightful)

EightBits (61345) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214240)

That's not really the point. Once that hash or checksum or whatever of your fingerprint is stored and linked to you, they can still track you by pulling fingerprints from the items you own or touch. All they have to do is get your fingerprint from something and run it against the database with these stored values.

Get Back To Us (2, Funny)

longacre (1090157) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214206)

...when your boss starts asking to personally take samples of your reproductive DNA. Until then, there's nothing to be upset about.

Re:Get Back To Us (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214264)

Health insurers require blood samples these days prior to coverage. That contains more than enough of your DNA for any purpose. If the majority of greedy, ignorant, short-sighted Americans had their way, health insurance and these types of privacy violations would have been already forced on the rest of us by now.

It used to be worse (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214208)

When I was in High School (loooong before most of you were born) I got a part-time job as "page" at the city library (I put books back on the shelf). In order to get it I had to get a physical, be fingerprinted, and sign a loyalty oath. At least you didn't have to turn and cough.

When was this??? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214238)

and sign a loyalty oath

Was it during McCarthyism or post-9/11? *joke* *I think*

Re:When was this??? (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214386)

It was a hold-over from McCarthyism.

Re:When was this??? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214436)

Since it's so in fashion these days to attach a "Neo" to some old catchphrase when we repeat something stupid, maybe we should call that Neo-McCarthyism?

Re:When was this??? (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214472)

Well, since it happened around 1970, it isn't very "Neo".

Re:It used to be worse (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214272)

Really.. you had to pledge loyalty to the mayor? Is this in case of attack by a neighboring city-state?

Re:It used to be worse (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214396)

No, I had to promise not to overthrow the US government. It was never explained to me how my job would make it easier to do so (by placing communist books in the new books section perhaps?).

Biometrics... (0)

TheQuantumShift (175338) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214230)

Way of the future. Seems like a trap, but probably isn't. Your actual prints are not stored anywhere. There's no image they send off to the CSI guys to zoom and enhance. When you register a finger, the software scans an image (a very bad one) and translates it into an alphanumeric string which is stored in a database and associated with your user account. That's why it doesn't work as good as it seems like it should. Roll your finger on the sensor a little to the left and the string generated by the sensor is off by a character. No paycheck for you. Of course if they hand you an inkpad and a 3x5 card, you might want to question it more...

Quit (1)

tix6174 (1137029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214234)

If you don't like the terms of work then don't work there.

Oh no! (1, Informative)

ChinggisK (1133009) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214244)

I bet there was a handle on the door to their office too, wasn't there? Now your fingerprints are all over the door handle too! It's a conspiracy!

Seriously though, of course privacy is a huge issue these days, but worrying about your school stealing your fingerprints? You're a little extra special paranoid.

Re:Oh no! (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214338)

See article about high school taking pictures of students in their home via webcam. Just beacuse your paranoid doesnt mean there isnt someone out to get you. Yes, Yes I know it was a high school, and this was a college, I could still see potential problems.

Re:Oh no! (0, Troll)

Angstroem (692547) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214412)

With all due respect, you are a dumbass.

Here's one guy who still uses his brain for thinking, and he just doesn't see what this fingerprinting (which you may have forgotten was used as a special treatment for criminals in former times) is all about.

If they want to check his presence, logging him in and out, there are other methods to do that. They don't need his fingerprints. It worked perfectly well with badges and/or company ID cards.

And, yes, his fingerprints are all over the doorprint. Together with a gazillion of other fingerprints. And withoug registration that makes him one of the anonymous crowd.

Before all this "we need your fingerprints for this and that" nonsense, of course, as his fingerprints weren't not registered.

Now they are.

It's easy to ridicule people as paranoid. Instead, however, you should be thinking "why the heck are they requiring my fingerprints".

Re:Oh no! (1)

ChinggisK (1133009) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214550)

It is much easier to hand a friend your badge or ID card and have them log you in than it is to hand them your fingerprint and do the same. He's a student working in some office at his school, not at a big company that has security guards checking the picture on his ID or something. This is just a quick, easy and convenient (no more forgetting badges!) to make sure he's clocking in on time.

How are they going to violate his privacy with his fingerprints, other than saying 'oo we have your fingerprints now'? Are they going to use them to track his browsing habits? No. Record his phone conversations? No. Steal his identity? Doubtful. It'd even be pretty damn hard for them to falsely accuse him of something with just those, because as you said, his fingerprints on anything will be mixed in with a gazillion others. And as other posters have pointed out, if someone really came up with a good reason to steal his fingerprints, it wouldn't be too hard to do anyway.

Re:Oh no! (2, Insightful)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214588)

If they want to check his presence, logging him in and out, there are other methods to do that. They don't need his fingerprints. It worked perfectly well with badges and/or company ID cards.

How exactly does an ID card verify his presence, rather than simply that someone possessing the card happened to run it through the machine?

And, yes, his fingerprints are all over the doorprint. Together with a gazillion of other fingerprints. And withoug registration that makes him one of the anonymous crowd.

As long as no one goes to the extraordinary effort of pre-emptively wiping the handle clean.

It's easy to ridicule people as paranoid. Instead, however, you should be thinking "why the heck are they requiring my fingerprints".

What I am comparing this to is, for example, using a social security number for identification, which seems to generate a large current of opposition here on slashdot precisely because it such a non-physical, easily reproducible security feature. I want anonymity as much as the next guy, but the one place I don't want it is in verifying my identity. (I would think most people could see the inherent contradiction in wanting both at the same time.) Ideally only one person will be able to gain access to things under my identity, that being me.

Fyi, pretty much any job working for the government or with children is much more invasive--you will actually have your prints submitted to a database for a background check, rather than simply having checksummed on the given machine. The latter doesn't seem that controversial to me.

Re:Oh no! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214470)

You still touch door handles with your hand? I see you don't have your towel with you.

I bet you also still push the elevator buttons with your finger instead of your knuckles...

fingerprints (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214256)

Temp companies are doing this as well. Which to me is a good reason to establish property rights for privacy. In that case, you would be the sole non-transferable owner of your fingerprint scan among other data and have sole discretion over what is done with it. They would upon your consent store one single copy of the scan on the device which if copied or otherwise removed for other uses without your consent would now have legal consequences. The beauty of the concept is that you could also establish similar rights for the contents of mail and internet connections which could possibly address the net neutrality issue as well.

Re:fingerprints (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214394)

They'd just make you sign a contract giving them an unlimited license to store, transfer, or sell. Property rights won't do jack shit. If you want to stop it, you make it a criminal offense to transfer that data for any reason and don't allow them to hide behind the corporate veil. Anything trying to use property rights and contracts will fail as miserably as it does everywhere else.

Wait until you get a job (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214270)

I have been at places where it required a badge, hand geometry and finger print
to gain access.

Re:Wait until you get a job (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214492)

The question is actually why we put up with that shit? I mean, it hasn't been an ultimate requirement 20 years ago (mostly because, well, it was impossible without access to NASA-esque hardware), but suddenly we all need to be fingerprinted, X-Rayed, retina scanned and DNA-probed just to get to our workplace? I mean, I could see if this workplace was some sort of superspecialawesomeultrasecret shady black ops government sponsored (but definitly denied) lab developing the next generation I-win button for international warfare. But your average clerk job in some no-security biz? Get real.

Where does this extreme "security" concern come from? And, most important, how does it increase security if it's done in a business where visitors are frequent who have basically the same liberty to run around as you, the anal-probed company property, do?

When did they first tell you about this ? (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214282)

Was it before you committed to the job ? If it was after - then it is a change to your contract, why do you need to accept it ? Unless it is a change in the law in which case you need to bend over and let yourself be shafted.

Not working there is not a solution. (3, Insightful)

EightBits (61345) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214292)

Not many posts yet but I already see a LOT of posts pushing the idea of not working for this employer. This is not a solution. If we don't fight it and win, it will be adopted by more and more employers until it snowballs into something too big to fight. If we think this is a bad idea, it needs to be fought now while it's still in its infancy.

Re:Not working there is not a solution. (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214344)

I had to submit fingerprints in order to get a job working for the U.S. federal government. I don't even have security clearance (although I did have to go through a background check as I hold a "position of public trust"). If the federal government is allowed to take fingerprints as a condition for employment, I don't see how other organizations could be limited in this regard.

Re:Not working there is not a solution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31214380)

Hell, try living in another country or possibly even visiting for a length of time. You'll get investigated by all sorts, and give up a couple sets of (full) fingerprints...

Re:Not working there is not a solution. (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214350)

Not many posts yet but I already see a LOT of posts pushing the idea of not working for this employer. This is not a solution. If we don't fight it and win, it will be adopted by more and more employers until it snowballs into something too big to fight. If we think this is a bad idea, it needs to be fought now while it's still in its infancy.

I hope you understand that 'not giving them' a fingerprint for privacy concerns is a relatively moot point.

If someone that employs you or works with you (or even not working with you, but knows of you) wants your fingerprint they can simply grab up any of the many things you touch on a daily basis.

Most people don't wear gloves when they leave the house.

Your fingerprints are all over the place. If I wanted them, I could get them.

Re:Not working there is not a solution. (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214558)

Or they will just fire you and replace you with someone who wouldn't mind doing it.

In this economy there are millions including myself who would be happy to do it. Its the free market and unfortunately thanks to free trade billions are available for dirt cheap.

Re:Not working there is not a solution. (1)

EightBits (61345) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214594)

Understood, Mr. Hawke. However, there is no reason to make it easy as a matter of policy. If it is made illegal to use fingerprints, then while you may still be able to get my prints, I can also catch you in the act. This, of course, adds risk to the equation for you. Merely making this illegal will be enough to deter many employers from attempting it. It will also make people who want protection more likely to try to find out who's doing this.

And I agree with some other posters that this isn't really a concern. I personally don't care if the government has my prints. But the OP and posters who think you shouldn't work for that employer because of this probably *DO* think it is a problem. They are the ones who should be fighting it, not running from it. History has shown that governments and corporations tend to be predatory. We all know if you run from a predator, it will chase you.

Keep up the fight (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214530)

Meanwhile how much do they pay? What are the benefits? etc?

Easy Fix For You (1)

hduff (570443) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214296)

Reynolds Wrap fashioned into a stylish chapeau. Works every time, guaranteed (unless you hear that from a government employee, then all bets are off).

I recommend... (4, Insightful)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214312)

...that you stop being such a whiney bitch. So they want your fingerprints to ID you...so what? What is it that you're worried about that they're going to do with them, other than use them internally for authentication purposes?

I am in the process of contacting the local newspaper...

Are you for real? Other than than the fact that they likely won't give a rats ass about this, you are treading on very thin ice. I'm not sure what it is you're planning on doing after graduation, but being labeled a well-known whistle-blower isn't going to do you much justice when you're out looking for a job.

Re:I recommend... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214532)

I dunno about him, but I'd be worried about the question why a no-security area needs so much information about me. It makes very little sense to take prints in a non-secure working area.

Those things don't work (2, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214314)

We had one, after the first couple of weeks people started punching it instead of "punching in". They're supposed to also have a keypad so you can manually enter an access code, since the reader is known to be undependable.

If you want to mess it up, each time you stick your finger on it while it's "registering you" (it needs more than 1 scan), put your finger in a different position, different angle, or even use a different finger (people generally don't notice). After 5 failed attempts, they'll give up. Or, if they "insist" o "helping you" place your finger, tell them that as far as you're concerned, their broken machine is their problem, and that touching you is common assault and you'll file charges.

Re:Those things don't work (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214480)

We had one, after the first couple of weeks people started punching it instead of "punching in". They're supposed to also have a keypad so you can manually enter an access code, since the reader is known to be undependable.

Undependable because people keep punching it?

that nobody again! (1)

10am-bedtime (11106) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214326)

Nobody can prevent war, famine and suffering.
Nobody can save the economy.
Nobody can brush your teeth for you.

Vote for Nobody! [anvari.org]

Unfortunately, it's also true that "nobody has access to your fingerprints". :-O

Do yourself a HUGE favor (0, Flamebait)

mother_reincarnated (1099781) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214328)

" I am in the process of contacting the local newspaper, getting the word out to students everywhere"

Do yourself a favor and hold off on that. All I can think of while reading your submission is one of those tea baggers holding up a sign that reads "MORAN."

Re:Do yourself a HUGE favor (1)

SCSI-Wan (168595) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214452)

This is probably a good idea... Before drawing attention to yourself make sure you understand this situation as well as you think you do.

No black helicopter over head = swipe your finger! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31214340)

Seriously, this is jumping the gun a little. Now, I am doing some side work for a company that requires me to submit to a polygraph on request, and I had to have a full set of ID photos and turn in two fingerprint cards to be able to do this job ONE DAY A WEEK. You are being asked to sign in to a computer/time clock using the numerical value of the sum of the points of your finger. It is not like they asked you to provide them with copies of your fingerprints to keep on file to make sure you didn't touch your bosses prized [insert whatever the boss prizes]. Take a step back - there is no reason to become this upset over something so simple. I had to have my fingerprint scanned in when I >WENT to school, because it was used for accessing the chemical cabinet in the bio-lab. Wow... what a rant... maybe I should have just summed it up with call Johnny Cochran...

Pick your battles. Settle for knowing... (3, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214346)

...that the next time a pompous administrator says in public "nobody has complained about that," you know that he is lying. Settle for not just knucking under without saying anything at all. Settle for knowing, if you do know, that your complaint has reached someone who sets policy and that you're not just making things hard on a bunch of other ordinary workers whose job is to keep things running.

This is not nothing at all, but it's a small thing.

You can't change the world through indignation. You really have only three choices. First, be docile and do nothing at all. That's often a good option by the way. Second, make sure your concerns have been heard, even if they are dismissed. Or, third, be prepared to devote at least a year or two of your life to the cause of fighting this thing.

If you feel that spending a year or two toward the goal of getting the university to stop using fingerprinting gadgets for access to work-study jobs is worth it, and is what you want to do with that chunk of your life, you can probably achieve your goal. I dunno how. Work through the union if there is one? Start a union if there isn't one? Make appointments and personally talk to one administrator after another, calmly, until you figure out how to get the policy changed? Personally work out an actual proposal, including costs and benefits, for alternative security, so you're presenting them with something positive and their work all done for them, instead of just saying "don't do what you're doing?" Find a faculty committee that's interested in the question that you can swing to your side? I dunno.

Spoon. (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214430)

I prefer nodding my head, going along, working my way through the system. Then when the day comes that I can and understand it enough to not get caught, I sabotage it. Of course posting here I'll never get to do that in a dramatic fashion but I can inspire anonymous cowards can't I?! ;)

Re:Spoon. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31214566)

Speaking as one, your thoughts just make you seem more delusional than inspiring.

Re:Spoon. (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214574)

I'm trying for a +1 funny and some day I *will* get my +5 troll.

Re:Pick your battles. Settle for knowing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31214620)

In our company we have several (maintenance) positions which require you to travel to the US, Japan and other fingerprint-taking countries. And I kid you not, our HR dept. has difficulties finding staff because of that.

Now this may be a part of our business culture, but you are not the only privacy conscious human being on this planet. Choose wisely!

GENTETIC Testing (2, Interesting)

hackus (159037) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214352)

Wait till they start genetically testing everyone with DNA requests for security purposes.

Thats when the fun will begin.

Expect to be denied loans based on life span and proclivities to all sorts of diseases they find you will contract.

Effectively they can prevent your student loans/grants to save money as they certainly do not want to invest in anyone who won't be around long enough to pay back that 100K.

All sorts of monkey business is planned. If you have a kid right now, the blood of every baby born in US hospitals MUST be saved by the department of homeland security for a genetic test for identification.

-Hack

PS: NO, they DO NOT tell you about that last part.

Middle schools in England... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31214364)

... require kids to give their fingerprints for lunch. Because a card or money is "too hard". Shyeah right. But this is modern times, so no complaints please. Oh, and the relevant privacy protection agency said the parents had no say in whether schools fingerprinted their kids, because this was ``something between the school and the pupil''. Who is the legal guardian of those pupils again?

Also, many, many countries now require people to submit fingerprints for the "biometric" part of the RFID passports. And maintain central databases of all citizens' fingerprints obtained that way, naturally. Did I mention that in most such countries all citizens already had to have an ID card or passport anyway? This goes way deeper than some stupid agency deploying a fingerprint reader to clock in and out of work. Biometrics are becoming endemic. Live with it, or bitch to your senators. Best start now, if it isn't already too late.

For other professions too (1)

smoothnorman (1670542) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214368)

It's jarring - to be sure. But consider that most public schools demand fingerprints from their teachers now. It would be nice if there was indication that this sort of privacy challenge was peaking - but i think it's only accelerating.

No big deal (1)

venkateshkumar99 (791435) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214378)

I work on campus at my university at the food court. We too require to scan our finger (right thumb) whenever we punch-in and punch-out. I guess this is a reasonable arrangement to thwart proxy punch-ins.

Re:No big deal (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214614)

Sellotape & some graphite dust.

Iris scanners: Photo of iris.
Facial scanners: Photo of face.

 

biometric time clocks (4, Insightful)

linuxbert (78156) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214388)

I installed these at a client.
The issue was the employees would take an afternoon off to go to an appointment, and get buddy to clock them out at the end of the day - The emplyoee would then get paid for an afternoon they didnt work.

The time clocks have a fingerprint scanner. You place your thumb on the device as you punch out. Now buddy cant swipe out for you, and you cant defraud your employeer.

They also had biometric locks instead of prox cards on the doors. Much more convieient then having to remember a card the few days when i was on site.

Re:biometric time clocks (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31214562)

For the love of god people, If your employees are doing this, don't install biometric scanners - just fire them.

University & Biometric ID (1)

SCSI-Wan (168595) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214390)

My university uses palm scanners to identify students to allow them access to the campus gym. To my understanding, instead of using an actual image, it generates a unique ID based on sample points within the palm image and then discards the original. From that point forward it just compares the generated ID. I guess, it can technically store an image, but the system would likely need to be modified (cracked) to function in a way the manufacturer did not intend.

If you have doubts about the storage, usage, or security of your information, you have the right to question the system. A good question to ask yourself is "what could someone do with this information if it were abused or compromised?" This may help put such situations into perspective.

I understand (1)

FartKnockerz (1750222) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214406)

I understand your reasoning for being concerned. However, sometimes there are certain things that we must do in the modern workplace to maintain/continue/engage employment. Sometimes that means giving up something like your fingerprint. However, I would recommend that you ask student services and/or your student rights council as to how this information is going to be used or disseminated and if your biometric information will be deleted upon you leaving your work/study position. But be assured -- this type of information is not uncommon in corporate situations. Biometrics as an additional authentication mechanism besides passwords (one time or otherwise) are not uncommon. I've had OTP passwords/Secure Certificates/Biometrics all on one card many times in the workforce.

Suck up and deal (1)

AssTard (684911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214410)

Serious, you leave your fingerprints everywhere you go. You have no right to privacy on them. Get a fucking grip.

Leave your thumb behind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31214424)

Our university requires students to leave their left thumb as the enter the building. They can pick it up as they leave. We only storage it temporarily, and do not make copies of them.

--dmg

You must resist! (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214484)

Gattaca! Gattaca!

It's a non-issue (1)

galfridus73 (873250) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214528)

I've used the same sort of device for my student assistants to clock in and out with. Your fingerprints are scanned, but not stored. A pattern is built for the computer to scan in the future when you use the timeclock - your print isn't there.

They're using biometrics because they're concerned about students logging each other in. That was my rationale (what are you going to do? Cut off your finger for your friend to clock you in?).

That said: Those scanners suck, especially with smaller fingers (my female employees had great trouble with that thing). I moved to a keypad-based device. It takes a touch more babysitting to keep everyone honest, but I leave it in a fairly public area.

Get used to it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31214538)

Fingerprints and a full background check are becoming required for more and more jobs. The state of Florida fingerprints everyone that handles state funds, works with children, or is in a profession that requires licensing (like doctors and nurses). While geek jobs may be among the last to fall, do not be surprised (especially if you are a government employee or contractor) if you have to give up a real set of your prints someday. So, this set of prints that will remain internal to the biometric machine would be a nice way to get used to the intrusion!

 

Think about the past! (1)

bmacs27 (1314285) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214544)

The horror! You wouldn't want someone else punching in or out for you!

They are right your fingerprint is not stored... (1)

Foo2rama (755806) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214552)

Your prints are not stored, a geometric design made from identifiable parts of your fingerprint are stored.


Your making a big deal about nothing. Besides as other people have pointed out I can grab your fingerprints from your car door, or from a soda can in your trash. FYI your bank has your fingerprint, and odds are that your parents had your fingerprints taken at some point in your life as you are in college.

Go get a gun license (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31214584)

Get a concealed pistol license. That way your fingerprints will already be on record with the police and the FBI, and you won't be losing anything by being fingerprinted at work.

Almost everywhere now (1)

smd75 (1551583) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214622)

Ive been seeing those things almost everywhere now. You type in a pin number and put your hand in the machine. Most of the time its right hand down, one company I worked for said someone asked what if you dont have a right hand. It works just the same left hand up.
This was in a hotel. I just saw one at the library the other day. Im pretty sure it isnt about your finger prints, but the shape and contours of your hand in combination with your pin.

Its not like you can hide much from the government, its a Federal Work Study job.

RFID in the anal cavity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31214624)

so they can find out who takes the longest shit

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