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Ill. Library Getting Fingerprint Scanners

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Rusher, May 21, 2005.

  1. Rusher

    Rusher Member

    Dec 31, 2002

    NAPERVILLE, Ill. - Library officials in this suburb west of Chicago have come up with a high-tech solution for keeping unauthorized visitors from using their computers: fingerprint scans.

    The scanners — to be installed on 130 library computers this summer — will verify the identity of computer users.

    Library officials said they wanted to tighten computer access because many people borrow library cards and pass codes from friends or family to log on. The technology also will help the library implement a new policy that allows parents to put filters on their children's' accounts, officials said.

    But privacy advocates have criticized the plan, which would make Naperville only the second library system in the nation to use fingerprint-scanning technology, according to the American Library Association.

    "We take people's fingerprints because we think they might be guilty of something, not because they want to use the library," said Ed Yohnka, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union in Illinois.

    While the library insists the fingerprint data will be kept confidential, Yohnka warns the technology will create a database of personal information that could be used in unintended ways.

    Library records have been the focus of a privacy debate ever since Congress passed the Patriot Act shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. A provision of the law authorizes federal officials to obtain "tangible items" like credit card receipts and library records as part of foreign intelligence or international terrorism investigations.

    The Justice Department has repeatedly said the government has never asked for anyone's library records.

    Naperville library officials said the technology cannot be used to reconstruct a person's actual fingerprint. The scanners, made by Naperville-based U.S. Biometrics Corp., use an algorithm to convert 15 or more specific points into a unique numeric sequence.

    "Right now we give you a library card with a bar code attached to it. This is just a bar code, but it's built in," said Mark West, the library's deputy director.

    West said the numeric data cannot be cross-referenced with fingerprint databases kept by the FBI or state police.

    YAAAAAaaaaaahhhh sure :rolleyes:

  2. spartacus2002

    spartacus2002 Senior Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Richmond, VA
    So what if people are swapping pass codes or library cards? Either way, it's a PUBLIC library and the computers are there to be USED.
  3. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Idahohoho, the jolliest state
    A single finger print is of virtually no value to police agencies—unless, of course, it's linked to a name. In that case, a single finger print can be used to verify the person is who he claims to be—or not.
  4. Joejojoba111

    Joejojoba111 Senior Member

    Mar 7, 2005
    Except the patriot act specifically says that library information is the domain of national security... You have to love it when you see complete, outright lies being told to defend utterly insane police state implements. Gots to loooove it.
  5. PMDW

    PMDW Member

    Aug 3, 2004
    I've had a good amount of experience with these. I wouldn't be too worried if I were you.

    Most fingerprint scanners (unless you're spending thousands of dollars a unit) use only 2 or 3 points of the finger to identify a person. They don't store a complete print.

    Most of them also suck. We used to use them at work. 90% failure rate. You have to be trained in their use in order for them to work. Your finger has t obe in the exact same position every time, exact same finger, lightly set on.

    Most people will set their finger on it randomly, or put large amounts of force on it with the tip of their finger, as if it were a button (but then, most people are idiots).

    You guys are paranoid.
  6. jefnvk

    jefnvk Senior Member

    Jun 3, 2004
    The Copper Country, Michigan

    If log on accounts are already being used, with the person's full name and address known, how exactly is this a threat?
  7. lysander

    lysander Member

    Mar 23, 2005
    Naperville has been a "police state" for years...LOL! I don't think this makes much more of a difference. :neener:
  8. cuchulainn

    cuchulainn Senior Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Looking for a cow that Queen Meadhbh stole
    People still go to libraries? How quaintly 20th Century of them. It must be the same people who churn their own butter.

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