Date of this Version

August 2005

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Who’s fingerprints, and with what flavour, would you like today?, Privacy Law & Policy Reporter, Vol. 11 No 7 (August 2005); p. 201
Published in ©Privacy Law & Policy Reporter
Access the Journal online

This short article is loosely based on an article published, in Swedish, in the Swedish Data Inspection Board’s publication DIrekt #1/2005.


The spread of the use of biometrics has been explosive. Fingerprints, for example, are being used for a range of purposes, such as for controlling access into buildings and for logging onto computers. Furthermore, there are plans to incorporate fingerprint technology in mobile phones. In addition, the US has put pressure on the 27 countries covered by its visa waiver program to begin issuing passports with biometric identification information. Until recently, two Swedish schools even used fingerprint technology to ensure that only students who were entitled to the lunch provided could access it. There simply seem to be no end to the uses to which fingerprint technologies can be put.

However, there are several reasons to think that too much faith is being placed in these technologies. The technologies using fingerprints as identification are not completely accurate, and there are ways to fool the fingerprint readers currently in use.



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