×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

351 comments

BFD (2)

djupedal (584558) | about 7 months ago | (#44869871)

When I worked in a NOC for a major bank, we had full hand scanners, explosives sniffers and video records to endure when we clocked in. That was fifteen years ago. Just be happy you have a job.

Re:BFD (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44869945)

Just be happy you have a job.

This is exactly what the slavemasters want you to think.

Re: Fingerprinting for the NSA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870711)

Just be happy you have a phone.

This is exactly what Apple want you to think.

FTFY

Re:BFD (2, Funny)

c0lo (1497653) | about 7 months ago | (#44869991)

When I worked in a NOC for a major bank, we had full hand scanners, explosives sniffers and video records to endure when we clocked in. That was fifteen years ago.
Just be happy we didn't install exploding sniffers. You know? To increase the efficiency of the firing/dismissal procedure.

FTFY

Re:BFD (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870241)

How about instead "Just be thankful you have workers"?

What's more important: human beings or the profit of corporations?

I think the best way to promote a positive evolution of morality, for the sake of mankind, is to deal with each individual according to their answer to that question... As a form of preliminary screening.

Re:BFD (5, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about 7 months ago | (#44870385)

well the reason they don't want the scanners is that then they can't as easily sell their job when they move on - or have their cousin cover for them on a sick day.

unfortunately england is chock full of people who would take the job. for this same reason there's factories in china and latin america where the attendance of the workers is 99.9%(that is: no sickdays taken ever). sure, you can't be sure that it's always the same guy but you can be sure the family arranges someone to cover because that one worker feeds 10 people.

Re:BFD (1)

CadentOrange (2429626) | about 7 months ago | (#44870609)

well the reason they don't want the scanners is that then they can't as easily sell their job when they move on - or have their cousin cover for them on a sick day.

Or just not turn up for work and have a colleague claim that they're present but you can't see them now because they're out on some obscure bit of track.

Re:BFD (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870345)

I took a break from Slashdot three years ago, hoping the userbase would eventually grow up, realize that the real world isn't an Ayn Rand novel, and the ridiculous libertarian bullshit would eventually go away.

Imagine my disappointment when I come back to find this kind of shit.

Londons tube? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44869889)

Not the kind of place I'd want to stick my finger either.

Fraud (5, Insightful)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#44869901)

The only "civil liberty" it attacks is the ability to fraudulently sign in for someone else. This is how unions get a bad name. Bio-metrics are used for time card validation on many places and it is neither "draconian" nor "an attack on civil liberties".

The article then goes on to talk about biometric authentication on mobile devices which has nothing to do with biometric time card sign ins. This is another sensationalistic piece which brings together unrelated information in an attempt to make a big splash.

Re:Fraud (5, Insightful)

flayzernax (1060680) | about 7 months ago | (#44869933)

There's a well oiled system in place for trading clock ins. If they implement this new technology it will throw a wrench in the works.

-IANALTC

Re:Fraud (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44869947)

The only "civil liberty" it attacks is the ability to fraudulently sign in for someone else. This is how unions get a bad name. Bio-metrics are used for time card validation on many places and it is neither "draconian" nor "an attack on civil liberties".

This is The Peter Principle [amazon.com] at work.

If a superior is incompetent they will often judge the subordinate by "behavior that supports the rules, rituals, and forms of the status quo. Promptness, neatness, courtesy to superiors...." This is evaluating input, not output.

It's pretty easy to show up, put your hand on the scanner, and half-ass it all day long. Do you want clean tubes? Or do you want employees who make sure to put their hand on the scanner at the right time? When you figure that out, design your checks and metrics accordingly.

Peter Principle (-1, Redundant)

gd2shoe (747932) | about 7 months ago | (#44870185)

Uhm, no. This is the Peter Principle:

The Peter Principle is the principle that "in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to their level of incompetence".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Principle

Re:Peter Principle (4, Insightful)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about 7 months ago | (#44870395)

Right....but the AC said that it's the Peter Principle at work. That is, the situation they described (using inappropriate metrics of suitability for a job, like being able to clock in at the right time as a judgement of being able to clean the tube station) is an example of something that might happen when the manager is an employee who has risen beyond their level of competence.

Re:Peter Principle (5, Funny)

Frobnicator (565869) | about 7 months ago | (#44870541)

Uhm, no. This is the Peter Principle:...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Principle

Cute.

He quotes the actual book.

You contradict him citing the Wikipedia article summary about the book.

It is a sad world when people treat Wikipedia (a tertiary source) as more authoritative than the primary source.

Nothing to worry about, get back to work serfs! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44869953)

The only "civil liberty" it attacks is the ability to fraudulently sign in for someone else.

Says another of Big Brother's useful idiots. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Nothing to worry about, get back to work serfs! (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#44870041)

So what "civil liberty" do you think is being attacked? I see you as a "useful idiot" for the union.

Re:Nothing to worry about, get back to work serfs! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870111)

It doesn't matter if a civil liberty is being attacked. This is wrong and people shouldn't put up with it. We shouldn't be tracked like cattle. We're human being for christ sake. Our employers should trust us enough to do our damn job and for those who can't be trusted fire them.

Re:Nothing to worry about, get back to work serfs! (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#44870131)

Hourly wage earners have their hours tracked world over. It is human nature to want to screw the system. This system just happens to be much harder to screw.

Re:Nothing to worry about, get back to work serfs! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870171)

Our employers should trust us enough to do our damn job

you know how i know you'll never be in a position to employ anyone ever?

Re:Fraud (4, Insightful)

Skapare (16644) | about 7 months ago | (#44869957)

The issue is about having the fingerprint data. Business promise things to worker all the time, but their promises are so often just lies (and recently, at least in the US, told to lie by no such agency).

Re:Fraud (2)

cheater512 (783349) | about 7 months ago | (#44870005)

Fingerprints for this purpose are usually hashed. I.e. you are not able to reverse it back to a picture of their fingerprint.

Re:Fraud (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870341)

Fingerprints for this purpose are usually hashed. I.e. you are not able to reverse it back to a picture of their fingerprint.

operative word being "usually". do you trust them enough to use sensitive passwords like your banking password for your work login?

Re:Fraud (2, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 7 months ago | (#44870365)

Fingerprints for this purpose are usually hashed. I.e. you are not able to reverse it back to a picture of their fingerprint.

For some definitions of "reverse." By "hashed" what you really mean is a list of minutiae - x,y coordinates of significant features like ridges, ridge splits, whorls, loops, etc. The list of minutiae isn't enough to reconstruct the entire fingerprint, but it is enough to make a fake print that will scan and pass as the original print.

So it won't stand up against a human doing a forensic examination (at least not a human who takes their job seriously) but it will pass an automated system with flying colors.

Duplication (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#44870619)

Care to cite any studies or article where this has happened? Otherwise it is pure conjecture on your part.

Re:Fraud (5, Informative)

tompaulco (629533) | about 7 months ago | (#44870013)

This. Where I work, they required us to be fingerprinted and did a background check. Then I found out that they send the prints to the state, and the state keeps them on file. I didn't consent to that.
Then they wanted me to do a fingerprint for the building I worked in so I can get in after 5:30. As is my legal right, I opted out and they have to provide an alternative means for me to gain entry. Of course, they didn't actually do that, so now if it is after 5:30 and I happen to be outside, I just go home.

Re:Fraud (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#44870143)

The fingerprint data was sent to facilitate the background check. The Underground is not doing that.

Re:Fraud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870415)

The Underground is not doing that.

Yet.

Just wait until someone mentions terrorists.

Re:Fraud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870535)

Yet? How do you know?

In fact, we already have a few of these scandals where wrongful DNA-information from hospitals is sent to the police. It was just "research", but ended up in criminal databases.

If possible, they will do it.

Re:Fraud (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#44870037)

What is the issue with having a mathematical representation of one's fingerprint stored by the company? It is not the actual fingerprint on file and there are many different algorithms to encode them. Different company's machines xcan not compre fingerprints and sometimes different versions of the same machine can not. What promise is there to break? Show up, log in correctly and we will pay you? What other promise is there to break?

Re:Fraud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870149)

You're making the huge, glaring assumption that the company and fingerprint reader only store an irreversible hash of the print. No need to break the "promise" of using the fingerprint in limited scope -- it was never even made in the first place.

Re:Fraud (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#44870253)

Do some research on fingerprint scanners and get back to me. I did the research.

Re:Fraud (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870687)

I work with it, depends of the sensor type used... simple resistive capture just generate low quality images (think on fax like) but common used scanners found in banks or by HR sofware like ours, provide better quality images of the finger prints than can be saved and procesed with unrelated SDKs for biometrics. The hardware vendor librarys use propietary data structures for the minutiae obtained from the images... but unrelated more expensive SDKs exist (focused massive or bach server processing) that support many hardware models and sharing trought some niche defacto standart formats.

So... once you give out your biometric, is not captured by the specific reader implementation. Its very easy to keep it accesible and ready to use.

Re:Fraud (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 7 months ago | (#44870075)

The issue is about having the fingerprint data.

They could offer to implement smartcards with integrated fingerprint readers. The smartcard verifies the print and the reader verifies the smartcard's attestation.

Then we'd know whether the tubemasters want the fingerprint data and/or the workers want to trade shifts off the books.

Re:Fraud (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 7 months ago | (#44870667)

The issue is about having the fingerprint data.

I wouldn't be so quick to leap to that conclusion. All I see in the story is that the move has been attacked as "an attack on civil liberties." This probably means the liberty to get your mate to clock on for you when you're going to be ten minutes late.

Re:Fraud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870051)

Assuming that most people come to work near the start of their shift, you get a situation where there are dozens of people queued up to use the machine. To avoid being late (and facing automatic disciplinary procedures), now everybody has to arrive 5 minutes early and leave 5 minutes late.

Re:Fraud (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#44870165)

Punch machines have been used for decades. The worker takes a card, punched it through the machine and replaces it. This is no different. Being at work 5 minutes early/late is not a hardship.

Re:Fraud (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870329)

Punch machines are much faster than biometric scans. Being at work early/late is no hardship, eh? It would appear that it is the union's job to decide that, not yours.

Re:Fraud (2)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 7 months ago | (#44870489)

It is actually a point of negotiation between the employee and the company. Some employees choose to hire a representative to do that negotiation and pays a one time fee for that negotiation. Others do it themselves. Others turn the negotiation over to someone they have never met that claims to have the employee's best interest at heart and only asks for a "small" cut of the employees earnings for the rest of the employees life.

Why do you say that only the last option is valid?

Re:Fraud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870551)

Since the employees already pay their union dues, none of the other solutions would make any sense at this time ... would they?

You also assume good faith on the part of the employer. Without collective bargaining, what is to prevent certain employees being privately tagged as "troublemakers", and being fired for something unrelated at the earliest possible opportunity?

Re:Fraud (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#44870637)

Punch machines work well if there is one entrance and one exit. The Underground is spread all over London. A cleaner is usually assigned a station or stations to clean. There would need to be a punch card at each station for every employee. That is not a viable system. Should they have to punch in at a central location rather than just going to their assigned location in the first place? What a waste of time.

It would appear that it is the union's job to decide that, not yours.

As a thinking human being I can make judgement calls. In my judgement up to ten minutes a day is no hardship. I have shown up early and stayed late at most of my jobs and it hasn't killed me yet.

Re:Fraud (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870733)

Considering that you've posted 19 comments on this story so far, it is little wonder that you put such a low value on your own time. You have no right to expect other people to feel the same way.

Also, where does it say in the story that punch cards are used? Whatever system that they have in place now has long been bought and paid for. How much would it cost to buy a biometric scanner for each of the 270 Tube stations and network them all?

Re:Fraud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870099)

Perhaps here there is nothing worth breaking into. However, if there was a criminal might be after cutting off your finger to gain access.

Re:Fraud (1)

chrismcb (983081) | about 7 months ago | (#44870117)

The only "civil liberty" it attacks is the ability to fraudulently sign in for someone else.

How about the privacy of their fingerprints. Their employer does not need a record of their fingerprints.
Another problem with using biometrics for authentication, is one they are compromised, they are compromised forever.

Re:Fraud (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#44870193)

A picture of the fingerprint is not stored but only a mathematical representation that are not comparable between machines. It is only compromised until the next encoding algorithm is used.

Re:Fraud (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 7 months ago | (#44870501)

How about the privacy of the physical representation of themselves. The employer needs no record of what an employee looks like. The employer should just blindly accept the word of the employee that the employee came to work.

Re:Fraud (3, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about 7 months ago | (#44870183)

The only "civil liberty" it attacks is the ability to fraudulently sign in for someone else.

Well, that... and it lets them share the prints with law enforcement, cross check the fingerprints with cases and what not, and subject them to all kinds of harrassment.

I object to being fingerprinted for any reason, short of with a judge issued warrant. And I object to routine finger printing of individuals who are released without being charged, nevermind individuals who are acquitted.

I'm certainly not going to hand over my fingerprints just to prove I'm doing a menial job I'm being paid to do. If my employer is concerned the job isn't being done properly, inspect the work being performed -- biometrics showing I clocked in on time don't mean a damned thing.

Re:Fraud (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#44870277)

Yet another person who does not know how fingerprint scanners work but feels competent to comment. Fingerprint scanners store a mathematical representation of the fingerprint and not a picture. The representations are not comparable between companies and sometime models from the same company.

Re:Fraud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870425)

which is totally secure because nobody ever cracked a hashed password ::rollseyes::

Re:Fraud (2)

Frobnicator (565869) | about 7 months ago | (#44870617)

Fingerprint scanners store a mathematical representation of the fingerprint and not a picture.

And they can be defeated using a known fingerprint and a gummy candy. So what?

Both sides have their own goals, and both can be met with an alternate solution. The whole problem can be avoided entirely by competent management, but I'm sure they are hiring supervisors at the minimum wage so competence probably isn't a thing they expect.

The company probably wants the fingerprint scanners for convenience. It is unlikely (although certainly possible) that they are trying to get the fingerprint data for nefarious purposes. They want it because a fingerprint is easy to automate no matter which machine the employee uses to clock in, it is hard to forge when somebody is running late and says "Bob, I'm running late, please put in my employee code of 23456", and it is difficult to accidentally leave at home.

The employees don't want to surrender one of their fingerprints for various reasons. There are many well-documented good reasons for this, most already covered by slashdotters. Most people only have ten fingerprints, it can only be compromised so many times before it is a nasty problem for the individual.

There are so many other good solutions. The MOST obvious solution is that doing the work is more important than punching the timecard, their manager or team leader should know when someone isn't present or isn't doing their job. If for some reason the boss is incompetent and doesn't know if his employees are actually present and working would be cheap RFID cards given to each employee; swipe the card when you come to work. It is hard (but not impossible) for an employee running late to give the card to someone who is on time. There is still the possibility that someone forgets their badge/card, but they can say "hey boss, I'm here and I forgot my card this morning."

As someone mentioned above, this scenario was mentioned in the book The Peter Principle as an example of incompetent leadership. The policy and procedure of checking the box by a certain time is more important than the actual work.

Re:Fraud (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#44870673)

On the point of incompetent management. The London Underground is spread out all over London. Workers are spread out all over London. It would take hundreds of supervisors running around station to station all day checking on people to ensure they are actually there doing their job. The London Underground is not a factory floor.

Most people only have ten fingerprints, it can only be compromised so many times before it is a nasty problem for the individual.

Sorry but that is overstating the issue. Fingerprint scanner information is not transferable between systems. It is a mathematical representation specific to the company and sometimes model of scanner. It is extremely rare that scanners from different companies can work from the same data.

Re:Fraud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870659)

The representations are not comparable between companies and sometime models from the same company.

So, like, totally no problemo, dude, 'cos, like, there are millions of vendors, and the algorithms each one uses are, like, totally unrelated to the others', no connection at all. At all, dude. At all.

Or as the previous AC said, ::rollseyes::

Re:Fraud (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 7 months ago | (#44870699)

Yet another person who does not know how fingerprint scanners work but feels competent to comment.

Yet another person who assumes that all fingerprint scanners work in exactly the same way. How do you know this system doesn't store a full scan when the print is taken, even if it's not actually used for verification?

Re:Fraud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870289)

The only "civil liberty" it attacks is the ability to fraudulently sign in for someone else.

Except that the text of a hashed password is known only to me and I can choose it, once my fingerprint starts getting stored on file at places like this the possibility of the system being compromised and serious damage being cause increases dramatically. Are you naive enough to thing this system is fool-proof and will not be broken? Are you foolish enough to use the same password for your banking as you do to log in to your work systems?

Re:Fraud (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 7 months ago | (#44870339)

The only "civil liberty" it attacks is the ability to fraudulently sign in for someone else.

Is this sort of fraud currently a problem? If not, then why are they wasting the money on this system? If it is a problem, how do they know this system won't be easy to circumvent? Do they scan a full ten-print (really unlikely) or just the forefinger in which case how hard is it going to be for someone to wear gummy-bear copies [slashdot.org] of their buddies' prints on their other 9 fingers and fraudulently clock them in?

Bio-metrics are used for time card validation on many places and it is neither "draconian" nor "an attack on civil liberties".

Treating people like criminals should always be a last resort and if you do it, you better be prepared for the result that they start acting like criminals. Whether that qualifies under the rubric of civil liberties, I don't know, but it is a socially destructive path to take.

Re:Fraud (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#44870537)

Fraud is only one issue. Costs are another. It takes money and introduces transcription errors to process paper time sheets. Card system also cost more to implement due to issuing initial and lost cards.

Whether that qualifies under the rubric of civil liberties, I don't know, but it is a socially destructive path to take.

Then why have any time sheets at all? Why not just pay everyone for the shifts they are scheduled to work? We have been on that path since the industrial revolution. Why is it now a problem? The issue is that there are criminals in the system and to stop them from exploiting the system everyone has to go through the BS. The reason we can not trust everyone is that there is a significant portion of the population that is not worthy of trust and everyone has to be treated the same way.

By the way, the "gummy bear copy" paper as written eleven years ago. There may have been some advancements that make that study a bit outdated.

Re:Fraud (1)

Askmum (1038780) | about 7 months ago | (#44870479)

If the fraudulent sign in for someone else is a problem, I'm sure the company would have used that argument as a reason. Fingerprints can also be spoofed. The only fool-proof method to prevent fraud is a visual recognition with your badgephoto.
And even then you don't catch twins. The controlfreaks have gone too far already.

Re:Fraud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870635)

The only "civil liberty" it attacks is the ability to fraudulently sign in for someone else.

This, good sir, is actually complete and utter bullshit.

Two counterexamples: Brazilian doctors faked fingers [bbc.co.uk] and Australian kids need only gummi bears [zdnet.com], but reallly, these weaknesses have been known for a long time [cryptome.org].

I could go on, but biometrics just aren't very suitable for use outside of criminal investigation. What happens if someone gets a paper cut? While on shift? And so on. It's really not their fault they haven't figured every last objection yet, it's that the company is being a jerkass with other people's biometrics. Just like how an abusive boss has no expectation of loyal subordinates, any and all fraud incurred is their just desserts.

This is how unions get a bad name. Bio-metrics are used for time card validation on many places and it is neither "draconian" nor "an attack on civil liberties".

You are blaming the complainer, and you claim that because "everybody is doing it" it must therefore be just and righteous.

Well, in a word, no. You are wrong, they are wrong, you could've figured it out if you'd really thought about it for a short minute --I did--, and you simply don't want to admit the glaring obvious. Neither do they, because there's good money to be swindled out of the gullible, or they are the gullible. What's your angle?

How would this work anyways? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44869915)

These people do actual work with their hands, they are not chair faggots sitting in an office sipping Nespressos. Their fingerprints must be full of cracks and chemical burns anyways, how can you be sure it'll work?

Re:How would this work anyways? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44869971)

Yes, we know they do lots of jobs with their hands. Hand-jobs, if you will. The FP readers are accurate enough to work in almost any conditions.

Re:How would this work anyways? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 7 months ago | (#44870067)

These people do actual work with their hands, they are not chair faggots sitting in an office sipping Nespressos. Their fingerprints must be full of cracks and chemical burns anyways, how can you be sure it'll work?

The point for the FP scanners is not if they works or not. For the "chair faggots sitting in an office sipping Nespressos", the point in installing the FP is to make sure the workers aren't paid if they aren't detected as present on the job (isn't this the very purpose of clocking-in?).

Now, consider what you describe in the context of the above stated purpose: if a worker is not recognized by the FP scanner (but potentially s/he works anyway), is there any problem?. Maybe there is one, but... not for the management, no.

hack it like an iphone (-1)

networkzombie (921324) | about 7 months ago | (#44869963)

Don't be wimps. Get the model number of the equipment, research how it works, and circumvent. The hard part is keeping the circumvention from management, unless they are participants. I enjoy modern tech. Old school tech like video cameras are tricky. It always raises suspicion when employees are clocking in wearing gorilla masks. One position I had used special encrypted key chain tokens to open the doors, which also clocked you in. Nice, but after a few weeks of trials I found the encryption was not so tough. I could copy other IDs as they walked by in the pub. It was as difficult as those smart cards they use instead of quarters at the laundry. I had $2,000 on my laundry card to make sure it didn't run out.

Thief (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44869989)

Don't be wimps. Get the model number of the equipment, research how it works, and circumvent. The hard part is keeping the circumvention from management, unless they are participants. I enjoy modern tech. Old school tech like video cameras are tricky. It always raises suspicion when employees are clocking in wearing gorilla masks. One position I had used special encrypted key chain tokens to open the doors, which also clocked you in. Nice, but after a few weeks of trials I found the encryption was not so tough. I could copy other IDs as they walked by in the pub. It was as difficult as those smart cards they use instead of quarters at the laundry. I had $2,000 on my laundry card to make sure it didn't run out.

Just because it's easy to steal doesn't mean it's okay.

Re:Thief (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870031)

If it's easy it's ok. They were phoning it in.

Not the Only Problem With the Tube. (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | about 7 months ago | (#44869993)

The tube cleaners are refusing to go down in the tub station at midnight (because it's so dangerous).

Re:Not the Only Problem With the Tube. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870405)

refusing to go down in the tub station

To take a bath?

On the fence. (5, Insightful)

Xeno man (1614779) | about 7 months ago | (#44870055)

I'm currently undecided if this is a good thing or not. On one hand, I'm against technology for the sake of technology. Using computers and touch screens because they are new and fancy is stupid when a pen and paper will do. It's one thing to have biometrics in clean areas like banks and office buildings, it's another to have then in maintenance areas. How long before they start to fail and workers are not getting paid because they can't clock in due to dirt and grease build up.

On the other hand, They have really failed to outline how their civil liberties are being attacked. To what extent can someones thumbprint be abused and how will this affect workers and their rights. None of that was even attempted to be explained.

To anyone saying that the workers just want to fraudulently sign in for someone else and abuse the system needs to try again and come up with a real argument. The assumption that workers just want to screw over employers is elitist and is a part of the same poor logic of "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about." It completely side steps the real issues and disguises the technology as only hurting the bad people. While I don't deny that fraud probably happens, there is no way that fraud is the sole reason for rejection of biometrics. Give real reasons for it, not made up reasons for why the are against it.

Re:On the fence. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870155)

It's an issue of being tracked. With pen & paper there is no certainty you were there. What is pretty certain is that somebody worked and that somebody is attached to a number that should get paid. That's all that matters and is enough.

Re:On the fence. (4, Insightful)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#44870301)

What is pretty certain is that somebody worked and that somebody is attached to a number that should get paid.

There is a simple scam that gets around paper systems. You tell you mate that you are going to be late so he leaves a blank line on the sign in sheet above his name. When you get there you sign in on the blank line and no one will be the wiser.

The other issue with paper systems is that they have to be transcribed by a person into the payroll system. That introduces mistakes and higher costs.

Re:On the fence. (1)

CadentOrange (2429626) | about 7 months ago | (#44870633)

What is pretty certain is that somebody worked and that somebody is attached to a number that should get paid.

There is a simple scam that gets around paper systems. You tell you mate that you are going to be late so he leaves a blank line on the sign in sheet above his name. When you get there you sign in on the blank line and no one will be the wiser.

The other issue with paper systems is that they have to be transcribed by a person into the payroll system. That introduces mistakes and higher costs.

I'd +1 this a million times if I had mod points.

Paper systems are so easy to exploit. I'm surprised that the majority of posters here on Slashdot have trouble understanding the motive behind these scanners.Yes, it's to keep better track of their workers in the "If you say you are present, you really are present".

Re:On the fence. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870179)

I disagree. It is up to the union workers to come up with a real argument. Civil liberty from what? Having your finger scanned? Is it a violation of civil liberties to have to have a ID card with your face on it? If they don't like their jobs they should just find ones that they like. God I hate unions. Never been to a union business where the workers weren't a pain in the butt to work with. Getting them to do anything not in their job description such as pressing a freaking button required union negotiations, etc...

Re:On the fence. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870233)

God I hate unions. Never been to a union business where the workers weren't a pain in the butt to work with. Getting them to do anything not in their job description such as pressing a freaking button required union negotiations, etc...

Indeed, making record profits on the backs of exploited workers gets harder and harder all the time. Poor us.

Re:On the fence. (1)

artor3 (1344997) | about 7 months ago | (#44870207)

When you lose a RFID card or a password, you can get a new one. When someone hacks into a system and steals your fingerprints, that's it for you. They're compromised for the rest of your life. No system using them as a means of authentication will ever be safe for you, ever again.

Using biometrics for trivial purposes like this is fucking idiotic. The business is putting its employees security at risk for their entire lives, in order to squeeze a few more man-hours a month out of them.

I don't see how anyone can side with company here, unless either they haven't thought about it much, or they've swallowed so much anti-union propaganda that they can't think straight anymore.

Re:On the fence. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870251)

Thats like saying you should never touch anything because maybe some day you will need to use an important secure service via finger print reader. Thats stupid.

Its the reverse of that. Because you can't change them, its stupid to use them for any important security purposes. There is a reason you should change your password occasionally for important stuff. The same reason applies to finger prints as well, but you can't just change it. If the database gets compromised, you are stuck. If the can you drank from gets compromised, you are stuck. If your steering wheel gets compromised you are stuck. Having one extra place storing a copy of something you scatter all over the place is not a big deal: using it for something important security wise however is a horrible idea.

I just don't see what you fear having compromised for the rest of your life thats based on finger prints thats not a horrible idea even if you don't use them for time cards.

Re:On the fence. (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#44870315)

Read up on how fingerprint scanners work. They do not store the actual fingerprint.

Re:On the fence. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870343)

They don't use the actual fingerprint to compare.

Some most certainly can store the actual fingerprint. It depends at what level the driver API works. 3m/cogent API works like a camera. DigitalPersona API works like yes/no comparison.

Re:On the fence. (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#44870243)

Fraud is one of the reasons but not the only one. Sorry but I have seen too many people sign in for others to blithely dismiss the fraud aspect. There are also other benefits to the bio-metric system;
- Automatic data entry of exact times of work. With paper systems there needs to be people to transcribe the sign in sheets.
- Faster log ins. All the worker has to do is swipe a thumb, wait for the beep and done. It is much faster than finding you card, signing it and putting it back.
Here are the issues with card systems;
- initial costs are higher as cards need to be issued
- cards are lost and need to be replaced and deactivated. It is hard to do that with a finger.
- cards can be used by unauthorized people. Even paper systems are more secure because most people are poor forgers.
I know of a small operation who is looking into bio-metrics to cut down on paperwork. They are a manufacturing firm and have good employees.

I agree with you that the union has not made a valid case. With valid reasons for (costs, speed and fraud) and no real reasons against I come down on the for side.

Re:On the fence. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870347)

I see you've made 13 comments on this one story so far, more than a quarter of the total comments. May I ask you what your personal interest is in this matter?

I happen to work somewhere that has implemented the biometric system. No, it is NOT quicker than punch-cards. It processes maybe 6-7 people a minute when it is working properly.

"taking industrial action" (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about 7 months ago | (#44870065)

AKA "Going on strike"..........

Re:"taking industrial action" (5, Insightful)

GumphMaster (772693) | about 7 months ago | (#44870291)

No, not necessarily. They might adopt a strict work-to-rule regime where workers do absolutely nothing that is not by-the-book, no staying 10 minutes over time to finish a job, no doing a job without that is not covered explicitly in their work agreements, taking every minute of meal breaks, reporting every little maintenance task they find in glorious detail, etc.

Re:"taking industrial action" (2)

mjwx (966435) | about 7 months ago | (#44870435)

No, not necessarily. They might adopt a strict work-to-rule regime where workers do absolutely nothing that is not by-the-book, no staying 10 minutes over time to finish a job, no doing a job without that is not covered explicitly in their work agreements, taking every minute of meal breaks, reporting every little maintenance task they find in glorious detail, etc.

Otherwise known as a "slow down". Everything checked and double checked, not an I left undotted or T left uncrossed... No matter how long it takes.

Slippery Slope (3, Interesting)

litehacksaur111 (2895607) | about 7 months ago | (#44870231)

This is exactly where technology like this will be deployed. They will say you know what it is just a slight inconvenience to the menial tube workers. Then eventually the government and other employers will hand out some no bid contract to some corporation to install these in all places as self identification methods. This technology must be fervently resisted before it is too late. If you don't believe me, just look at the how the TSA is expanding operations from airports to rail stations, highways, and bus depots.

Re:Slippery Slope (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#44870337)

Glad you admitted the "slippery slope" basis. Like all "slipper slope" [wikipedia.org] arguments this one is an informal fallacy. You last statement would be considered a "red herring", another informal fallacy, as the TSA has nothing to do with Underground cleaner time sheets.

Re:Slippery Slope (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870363)

15 comments out of 60 on this story have been made by you, not including any AC comments that you might have made.

Are you a fucking lunatic, Sir?

Re:Slippery Slope (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#44870719)

It is now 20 out of 96 and almost all of them in a thread I started. I enjoy discussions rather than making an empty comment as AC and walking away. By the way, I never post AC; If I say something I stand by it.(Unlike other people)

Re:Slippery Slope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870543)

Not all slippery slopes are fallacies, and his point about the TSA is how humans tend to abuse what powers they do have and try to expand them even further. There has never been a government that has not been corrupt, so it is more ridiculous for you to suggest that slippery slopes do not exist. Once a practice is firmly established, people become more docile and complacent; easy prey for the thugs in corporations or governments.

Money for this and no money for that (1)

dvaldenaire (52153) | about 7 months ago | (#44870273)

This will cost money and will eventually fail. That is control and humiliation for the sake of it.

Should have this happen in North Korea, you would have considered it differently.

In our local transport system here in france, some stupid bureaucrates have decided we must "validate" our card altrough our money has been taken out of our banking account the month before ! It required a costly system, no doubt, paid twice its real value. But you have no garantee there will have a train.

Money for control, no money for service.

Where that finger has been (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870297)

I wouldn't want to touch the same biometric surface because I don't know where that finger has been.

On an iPhone, probably only a few people would touch the sensor, but a reader used by a wide population, no thanks, not unless I can wash my hands afterwards.

What could possibly go wrong? (4, Funny)

captainpanic (1173915) | about 7 months ago | (#44870531)

Their data is obviously 100% secure so I don't really see any problems. Cleaning companies are famous for their rigid IT infrastructure, since their operational margin is huge and they have tons of cash to spend. There is also no market for hundreds (thousands?) of fingerprints with matching names and other personal data on a black market. So what could possibly go wrong?

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (2)

91degrees (207121) | about 7 months ago | (#44870621)

They don't store the fingerprints themselves. Just a mathematical represntation of them.

So what could ou use this for?

hot stuff? (1)

jmhobrien (2750125) | about 7 months ago | (#44870553)

"Biometrics is hot stuff"

Really? When I worked at a major supermarket chain, they were using fingerprint scanners for clocking on/off. That was 2004 and I doubt they were early adopters.

This technology is not new.

1995 was the future baby! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870603)

When I worked at part-time job at the local Woolworths deli as a young, pimply faced 15 year old we clocked in and out with our fingerprints... in 1995. The future is, well... 18 years ago I guess.

wax mould? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44870671)

Cant one make a wax mould, pour in silicone, then just pass it round like a clock in card anyway?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...