To USB or Not to USB


USB Biometrics

My gym, 24 hour fitness, started installing fingerprint recognition in their clubs.

“24 Hour Fitness is excited to introduce this new service that allows members
to access our health clubs without a membership card. No more fumbling
through your gym bag or purse… just enter your 10-digit check-in code,
scan your finger, and you’re on your way. “

The fingerprint reader will almost certainly use USB Fingerprint scanner like this.

I know of only 2 ways to scan for fingerprints:

1) Take a picture of the fingerprint, scan the swirls, keep track of those.  Problem: If your fingerprints get filed off, or burned off (please don’t do either of these) then it doesn’t work.

2) Do what Authentec does and scan the underlying pores, and map those.  Your pore pattern is unique.  So if you try to change your identity and your fingerprints, your pore pattern remains the same. (So Tom Cruise won’t be able to duplicate your pore patterns.)

When I read the e-mail, I first thought:  “Cool, no more fumbling out my card?”

My second thought: “I’m going to give my most unique identifying data to a company that has an employee turnover rate (I’m guessing)  of over 30%?   How secure is that?”

But I read the 24-hour fitness article, and it appears that they use a technology that does NOT store my fingerprint data.  Morphtrak creates some mathematical value, dumps your fingerprint, and only stores the value. This means that I’m not giving my data up to every person who’s ever worked at 24 hour fitness..

I’ve created this article, partially because it’s something that I thought you might find interesting, and partially to test if my Windows Live Writer will properly post my Blog to my Blog.

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