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Would You Submit Biometric Data to Join a Gym? 190

Posted by Cliff
from the your-body-is-no-longer-your-own dept.
An anonymous reader asks: "I went to my gym (Rocky River, OH branch) yesterday and there was a huge line of people at the counter. When I went to the scanner to swipe my membership card, I noticed they were training people in the use of their new security system that requires the input of your thumb print. There currently a story on boingboing that mentions a tanning salon in Arkansas that is enacting a similar policy. I'm going to call the gym later today and see what type of security they have on their network. I guess we can look forward to a future where these sorts of personal services clubs require the submission of biometric data. I was wondering how the members here at Slashdot feel about the security risks involved in submitting biometric data to small private companies?"
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Would You Submit Biometric Data to Join a Gym?

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  • I wouldnt be a member of that gym for much longer (or, any gym, really). I wonder if i can copywright my fingerprints, and then charge royalties for anyone who requires a print? that would be sweeet.
    • Re:No. Thank. You. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tha_mink (518151)
      " I wouldnt be a member of that gym for much longer (or, any gym, really). "

      But then, someone could steal your fingerprint without the trouble of hacking some system simply by getting you to hold on to something, for example, a frosty beer or maybe even your gym card.
    • Re:No. Thank. You. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Total_Wimp (564548) on Friday April 29, 2005 @10:13AM (#12383718)
      I wouldnt be a member of that gym for much longer

      I went to check out a nice large brand-new gym near my house. They handed me a form to fill out including a questionnaire and a space for my name phone number and address. I answered a few of their questions and just put my first name on the form.

      They mentioned that they'd like me to fill in my phone number and address and I said, "no thank you, I'd like to check out the equipment first before signing up." They told me they couldn't show me the gym without that information. Still thinking we just had a misunderstanding I pointed out that I wasn't there to use the gym, I just wanted to see what they had to offer before signing up. They then proceeded to point out to me that they were prepared to give me a tour, but would not do so without my phone number and address.

      I said, "goodbye" and walked out the door. Even my bank doesn't require biometrics and didn't ask for an address before they told me about their features. These fitness center folks are too big for their own britches. Pushups and situps are free and running shoes don't cost that much compared to a gym membership. I'd like to use the gym, but I don't have to and I certainly wont consider it untless they figure out how to be less intrusive.

      TW
      • I had a similar experience. When I lived in Boston, I stopped by a gym near my apartment to find out their rates. They refused to even tell me how much their monthly rates were unless I took a full tour and filled out forms. I told them flat-out, that's just creepy, I'm leaving.
        • Funny I went to a local gym just to ask the prices. They gave me a price sheet and offered to show me around. I told them that it was my wife that really wanted to join. They said "well bring her in. If you want to look around please do." They never asked my name or anything.
          Frankly I would rather ride my bike than go to a gym but that is just me.

  • by AndroidCat (229562) on Friday April 29, 2005 @09:16AM (#12383050) Homepage
    Once they've got your biometric data, how secure are they going to keep it? Unlike a password, it's not possible to change your biometric data if someone steals the gym's files and uses it to spoof other systems.
    • Once they've got your biometric data, how secure are they going to keep it?

      Umm, why would they need to keep it secure in the first place?

      Unlike a password, it's not possible to change your biometric data if someone steals the gym's files and uses it to spoof other systems.

      And also unlike a password, it's not a password. What system could you spoof by knowing what someone's fingerprint looks like?

      • There are widgets that you can connect to your computer to let you login with your thumbprint. The gym could spoof your fingerprint (since they have it) and, say, gain access to your PGP private key.

        Lots of "secure" things rely on your fingerprint; if the gym has this fingerprint then you are granting them access to everything you intended to keep secure. All so other people can watch you exercise through those big windows...
  • It's...um...bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tha_mink (518151) on Friday April 29, 2005 @09:17AM (#12383058)
    I am fearful regarding theft of my fingerprint or any other biometric information since I KNOW that eventually, someone will steal it from anyone who collects it from me. But then, someone could easily get my fingerprint by following me around for a little while and picking up my trash. Same with DNA for that matter.
    • Re:It's...um...bad (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sartin (238198)

      But then, someone could easily get my fingerprint by following me around for a little while and picking up my trash.

      Yes, but following you around is labor intensive and targets you specifically. For less effort (at most small business networks I've seen), a hacker could recovers hundreds or thousands of fingerprints (or other biometric data). This change in scale changes the nature of the problem and removes control from you. Without the biometric data stored in the business computer, the paranoid can we

      • Re:It's...um...bad (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Total_Wimp (564548) on Friday April 29, 2005 @01:22PM (#12386007)
        That control is gone when the data gets stored on computers owned by various businesses.

        Well, not really. It's more like a hash. Unless the people that designed the security sytem didn't have a clue, they wouldn't store reversable fingerprint information at all.

        I remember having this discussion with my old boss when he wanted to go biometric a few years ago. He even got ahold of a some fingerprint readers for testing. We found that the industry, and this manufacturer, were very clear on the matter. No one wanted to actually store your fingerprints.

        So, feeling confident, he installs the software, plays with it for a little bit and invites me over to try to "hack" his account with my thumb. I put my thumb on the plate and sure enough the device tells me I'm unauthorized... while displaying a giant picture of my thumb accross most of the display.

        My conclusion: I believe the companies really aren't storing reversible fingerprint information. I also believe they're doing a lousy job of making people feel confident about this fact.

        I think there are enough other downsides that this technology should be condered DOA for most purposes, but this particular issue is probably just a PR problem.

        TW
        • We found that the industry, and this manufacturer, were very clear on the matter. No one wanted to actually store your fingerprints.

          Mod parent up.

        • Re:It's...um...bad (Score:3, Insightful)

          by metamatic (202216)

          It's more like a hash. Unless the people that designed the security sytem didn't have a clue, they wouldn't store reversable fingerprint information at all.

          Well, the problem is I have to trust on blind faith that it's a hash, and that it's different from the hash used by other companies.

          It doesn't matter if my fingerprint is hashed to an opaque 0x0116632c51bde43 if every other system made by the same manufacturer will accept that hash as representing my fingerprint. I'm still screwed, because I can't

    • There's a simple solution to that problem: store the fingerprints using one-way encryption, the method long used to store Unix passwords. That way you can compare a submitted password (or fingerprint) by re-encrypting it, and comparing the encrypted versions. But you can't reverse the process to obtain the original data.

      I think simply having a person's fingerprint or DNA will never be as valuable a form of identity theft as stealing more traditional ID data -- social security number, mother's maiden name,

    • I am fearful regarding theft of my fingerprint

      Fingerpring? I'm fearful regarding theft of my finger!
  • thumbs are useful (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chewy (38468) on Friday April 29, 2005 @09:17AM (#12383059) Homepage
    Though I feel you are correct for being sceptical about the security of biometrics, I think that the convenience of using a thumbprint machine for entry into a gym is worth the sacrifice.

    Better than having swipe-cards that fail after a single wash. (Thumbs are wash-proof!)

    But using thumbs as positive I.D. for your bank account is a bad idea.

    See?
    • " (Thumbs are wash-proof!)"

      What if you wash them too long and they get all wrinkley?
    • Re:thumbs are useful (Score:2, Interesting)

      by KronicD (568558)
      Yeah... I have dermatitis, basically when my skin is exposed to soap (the skin on my hands is more susceptible to this) it starts to "peel" off and the skin does not recover for 4-6 weeks. I avoid soap as much as possible, the non soap alternatives are quite expensive however.

      When I am exposed to soap it causes a lot of problems with fingerprint scanners for me. So yeah, cards are a better option for people with my condition.

      Why not go for something like card + hand geometry identification if they're so c
      • Yeah... I have dermatitis, basically when my skin is exposed to soap (the skin on my hands is more susceptible to this) it starts to "peel" off and the skin does not recover for 4-6 weeks. I avoid soap as much as possible, the non soap alternatives are quite expensive however.
        So, we have your excuse, what's the excuse of the millions of other unwashed geeks out there?
    • I think that the convenience of using a thumbprint machine for entry into a gym is worth the sacrifice.

      Sacrificing your deeply personal information for the convenience of a simple consumer product is plain dumb. Aren't you concerned with security? This is plain sleezy, and it wouldn't suprise me to see "24-hour Nautilus" (Sleezebags) use this scheme in a couple years.

      The gym isn't doing this for your convenience. They do it to prevent people from sharing memberships, which is fine, but not when they reso
    • At what point will gym fees be so high that crooks will cut off your thumb so they can work out. I think that somebody at the gym has been wacking off to CSI one time too many. Sure it give you proof that so and so forgot to put down the seat in the toilet but beyond that it's a friggin gym. Unless they prove you will get a Charles Atlas body in one week it's not worth it.
    • by Bradee-oh! (459922)
      There are other ways to prove identity without sacrificing such fundamentally private information. e.g. At my gym you walk in, they scan your card's barcode, and your PICTURE shows up on the screen and, believe me, they look at you and confirm.

      If any argument is made that "well, a hacker could break in and change the picture on record," then you need to realize that it would be exactly as difficult for a hacker to break in and change the thumbprint on record.

      The difference is my thumbprint is my own bu
    • They are not doing it for your convenience. They are doing it to prevent you from loaning or selling your gym membership card to somebody else. Fingerprints are non-transferable.
  • If their customers take their business elsewhere, they'll soon drop the biometrics in favour of something a little more privacy-friendly. Who wants all those sweaty thumbprints all over the readers anyway? Gheesh!!!
  • The only solution is for you to copyright all your details, about yourself.

    Someone should fire up a dot-com which allows people to copyright all biometric info about themselves. Yes, it would be a registry. No, it wouldn't be "Big Brother" - the purpose would be to allow any individual worried about protecting their information, to have legal grounds to stand on in pursuing action against any other party using that information inappropriately.

    A 'clearing house', or 'group repository of biometrics' datab
    • You can't copyright facts. There's no creative process involved with recording the length of various things on your body.
      • No, but you could Trademark(TM) it all. TM your fingerprints. If anyone tries to use them, then sue them.

        Ahh well.

        In reality, this is like trying to stop the tide from coming in. You'd have better luck stopping the sun on it's ecliptic than trying to stop biometrics from becoming the defacto identification.

        It will happen!

        Eventually, your credit card, bank account, paycheck, network password, car key, and every thing else you can think of will be tied to your voice, fingerprints, or GATTACA-style DNA
      • That hasn't stopped corporations... most programming algorithms are really mathmatical facts and are protected under patents AND copyright.
    • I've thought about this [jerf.org]; it's a nifty idea but no current protection works.

      You can't copyright facts about yourself, which is what biometrics is based on, and for that matter most of what your privacy-sensitive information [jerf.org] is.

      You can't copyright the collection, because other people will independently collect it, and they can (and do!) claim their own copyright on the new collection.

      Trademarks don't work, because they are mostly concerned with preventing other people from fraudulently passing themselves o
      • Trademarks don't work, because they are mostly concerned with preventing other people from fraudulently passing themselves off as your business concern.

        And what would crooks use your thumbprint for, if not for fraudulently passing themselves off as you?

        • The law doesn't work by bad analogy to a one-sentence summary and wishful thinking. Go look up what a trademark is, officially, and you'll see why it doesn't apply; in particular, the remedies and the ways of losing it, which simply don't apply. (How can you "fail to protect a trademark" by common use when each use by anyone other than you is identity fraud? The system doesn't work... unless you again, try to create a bad analogy based on my one sentence summary.)

          This is why I said to dig deeper before pos
  • I never submit any personal data to any company if it is not really required for the business I have with this company. I don't see why I should change this policy for biometrical data.
    • I agree. My first thought on reading the intro was not about security, but "What's the reson for this?" I can't think of any legitimate reason for such a request.

      How long until stores want you to give a urine sample before using the bathroom?
      • How long until stores want you to give a urine sample before using the bathroom?

        LOL, I'd rather piss at their manager's leg like a dog! :-)

        obUrinetest: It's bad enough that it is legal for an employer to demand a urine sample and other stuff belonging to one's privacy. I'd never work in such an asshole company!
  • by dayid (802168) * <slashdot@dayid.org> on Friday April 29, 2005 @09:20AM (#12383099) Homepage
    I work for (and attend) a State University. Our gym (in 2002) enacted similar policies and equipment. It was *optional* however, and was enacted for people who didn't want to have to carry around a membership-card or student/employee-ID just to be able to get into the gym (since most gym shorts don't have a pockets, and many people on campus just walk to/from the gym rather than driving or bringing a full bag and using a locker). It was an option for about one year, until they realized that the extreme costs of using the hardware and managing it (and its slight errors) far outweighed pleasing a minority of people who attended. It's good to see the technology developing, but I still prefer losing my identity to a bunch of little numbers on a card.
  • Although I don't have anything in particular against ID cards, I do have something against storing fingerprints.
    If needed, it's easier to shed an ID, and get lost in the big mass of people in any world city and take on a new ID. When your fingerprints are out there, it's there for ever. I rather not cut of my fingers.
    Perhaps your traveling can be tracked with ID (at borders and such), but at least you know it when you hand over your card. Prints can be found up to a few days after you have left, without
    • actually the scanners I have seen do not store your thumb print. It stores sort of a checksum and you type in an id number or password to let you in. They tend to be dedicated chips and are hooked up to 8bit microcontrolers.
      I guess it could keep a full scan. Figure 1 sq in per thumb average a 600x600 8bit grey scale scan would take 351k per user uncompressed.
  • Seems like it would be cheaper to hire a bouncer and teach him how to identify possible terrorists who want work out or get their nails done, because it will cost many times more to hire a security consultant and buy all new hardware then the firewalls then Norton, then another consultant to remove Norton so the employees can surf the net while checking out all the hot girls bio-measurements, finally after a few years when the novelty wears off, the equipment gets old and uninteresting, costs continue to so
  • In a word: (Score:2, Interesting)

    by LouCifer (771618)
    No. And if the gym the wife and I belong to switches to biometrics, I'll demand a full refund of mine and my wife's membership.

    Fuck 'em. We already own a treadmill and the wife's been wanting to buy an elliptical [nordictrack.com] anyway.

    Slowly things like this get introduced and the stupid sheeple submit en masse. The more people that stand up and argue with the un- and under-educated about such invasiveness, the better.

    Sure, these things may not be so bad yet but this may just be the tip of the iceberg. Give 'em and inc
  • Not a big deal... (Score:2, Informative)

    by bafio (879076)
    As far as I know, biometric devices store only a signature of your fingerprint (like a digest of key points), so the stolen data would be of little use. Moreover they care about security because they normally control access to places.
    I would worry more about the other data they could hold on their machines, which could contain more sensitive personal information and could be stored in less secure machines.
    There's still a lot of sensitive data (medical records etc.) stored in Access databases and similar b
    • So basically all you would have to do is crack the hash and find a finger print that would match then print on a bit of transparency sheet. Yeah no one is going to do that just to work out, but, if biometrics spreads to say an ATM machine, or a globabl payment place? (Of course that is assuming there is a standard finger print format, if there isn't then the gym just lockemselves in forever and ever
  • by cybermage (112274) * on Friday April 29, 2005 @09:30AM (#12383225) Homepage Journal
    but you'll have to press your thumb in the box below to read my response.

    I..........I
    I..........I
    I..........I
    I..... .....I
    I..........I

    Your unquestioning compliance in this matter would be greatly appreciated.*

    Thank You,

    The Management

    * By supplying your thumb print, you agree to abide by our Terms of Service. You may request a copy of the Terms of Service directly from our Corporate Headquarters.
  • by XO (250276)
    I can see using security like that on something important. Your bank account, private things ,etc.
    But on a goddamn GYM?!

    Hell, I have access to a USB dongle that will store passwords for websites, variable per user, and it identifies the user by the user's fingerprint.

    ON A GYM?!

    Who the hell is going to have significant problems if someone steals their identity to go to the damn gym?

    If the gym has to be secure, fark the membership cards, and just have a database of people allowed in, and hav
  • would be better spent BUYING an exercise machien - oh wait, I already did....
  • Not big brother (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brian6string (469449) on Friday April 29, 2005 @09:43AM (#12383384)
    Alright, everyone take a deep breath here. The idea of a fingerprint to sign in at the gym is there as a customer convenience You don't have to carry a membership card into the place, and then find somewhere to stash it while you're exercising. This is actually a good thing.

    And, as someone pointed out already, there is no security concern to be worried about. Even if someone copied their thumbprint database, I mean, what could you do with that? Nada...

    • And, as someone pointed out already, there is no security concern to be worried about. Even if someone copied their thumbprint database, I mean, what could you do with that? Nada...

      Until thirty years from now, long after you've forgotten that some random gym two states away has your thumbprint on file. When your job or bank or something starts using thumbprints, and is actually super-secure about it, so you go ahead and use it there too... But surprise! It doesn't matter how securely the new place keeps

    • And, as someone pointed out already, there is no security concern to be worried about. Even if someone copied their thumbprint database, I mean, what could you do with that? Nada...

      Other than framing you for a crime...
  • by greenhide (597777) <jordanslashdot@P ... .com minus punct> on Friday April 29, 2005 @09:59AM (#12383561)
    In the gym in question, it's clear that this isn't being done to heighten security; it's just to keep people from having to drag a gym id around. Also, it's much faster to slam your thumb on a pad than to hold out a card for someone to scan.

    But here's how to implement a thumbprint-as-login system and keep people, including the paranoid freaks here at slashdot, happy.

    1) Make it optional. Don't want to submit your thumbprint? Fine. Just make sure you always show up with your card.

    2) Make it hashed, using a public key unique to that system. That way, the information stored is effectively useless. If a hacker gets in, all that they will be able to do is see a bunch of GUIDs. Whoop de doo.

    I'm almost 100% that this is, in fact, just what is being stored. I mean, imagine actually storing a thumbprint. That's got to take up more space, and is really slow and inefficient for data lookup.

    Someone more knowledgeable in biometrics, please rip me a new one if necessary.
    • In the gym in question, it's clear that this isn't being done to heighten security; it's just to keep people from having to drag a gym id around. Also, it's much faster to slam your thumb on a pad than to hold out a card for someone to scan.

      It's not clear to me that this is being done to keep people from needing their gym ID, although that is one possible reason. But it does at least address the first question that ought to be asked: what is the problem we are trying to solve here?

      Not having to carr

      • That's starting to get on the right track. Here's what my gym does:

        When you become a member they issue you a card with a short ID number (4 to 6 digits), and they use a webcam to take a snapshot of you for the customer database. When you go to the gym, you don't need the ID card at all- walk in, tell the person at the door your ID number. They punch the code into the computer and it pulls up your info including the picture, and one look at your face lets them know you are who you say you are.
        • So your gym uses biometrics too. I wonder if the slashdot crowd has a problem with this.
          • If some important information about you was leaked from a database, would you rather it be:
            A) Your Social Security Number
            B) Your fingerprint scans
            C) Your Iris/Retina scans
            D) Your picture (head only)

            I'd *much* prefer them to take a picture of me than take my fingerprints. If you think you can walk down the street, go to the airport, a store, the post office, the bank or use an ATM without your face ending up recorded on some sort of analog or digital medium you're mistaken. Even the gym has a security
            • Maybe I need to get my tinfoil hat adjusted, but I don't see the problem with photo identification methods.

              OK, that's cool, but I think the point the parent was making is a photo or a fingerprint are both forms of biometrics. Why is a photo OK when a fingerprint isn't (or the other way around, why is a fingerprint NOT when a photo IS)?

            • If some important information about you was leaked from a database, would you rather it be: A) Your Social Security Number B) Your fingerprint scans C) Your Iris/Retina scans D) Your picture (head only)

              Iris/retina scans, then fingerprint scans, then SSN, then my picture. I think about it this way: which would I rather have released on Slashdot, and that's the order I'd put it in.

              If you think you can walk down the street, go to the airport, a store, the post office, the bank or use an ATM without your

    • 1) Make it optional. Don't want to submit your thumbprint? Fine.
      But if you switch you get a 3% discount and a free drink every month! But you loose a bit of privacy.

      That's the way big stores (Walmart&Co) get you to switch to their rabate system. You safe $50 a year. They earn $100 because the sell your data to "data blackhole" companies like ChoicePoint.

      How much worth is your privacy?

      Don't wait until there is any kind of self regulation in the "data grabbing business".

      In Germany the data belongs
    • In the gym in question, it's clear that this isn't being done to heighten security; it's just to keep people from having to drag a gym id around.

      Or, to share their gym card with their friends.

      Also, it's much faster to slam your thumb on a pad than to hold out a card for someone to scan.

      And cheaper than paying someone to check the cards.
    • 2) Make it hashed, using a public key unique to that system. That way, the information stored is effectively useless. If a hacker gets in, all that they will be able to do is see a bunch of GUIDs. Whoop de doo.

      I'm almost 100% that this is, in fact, just what is being stored. I mean, imagine actually storing a thumbprint. That's got to take up more space, and is really slow and inefficient for data lookup.

      I've done some research into biometrics, and you're pretty much right on. Nobody that I'm a

  • Bring a simple contract to the manager and ask them to assume all liability for any financial losses you may incur as a result of their mishandling of your biometric information. If they sign it you should feel better. At least it might get them thinking.

    If that doesn't work, it's summer - you've got 'till fall to find another gym. If you need work to do, I've got trees to clear. :)
  • by samael (12612)
    They sold _you_ a membership - they want to know that _you_ are making use of it. What's the problem with you identifying yourself?

    Personally, not having to carry around numerosu bits of plastic that don't actually identify me is going to be a relief.
    • They sold _you_ a membership - they want to know that _you_ are making use of it. What's the problem with you identifying yourself?

      It's a matter of what is acceptable to the consumer, as well as the first step of a slippery slope.

      What if they said "you must get this RFID chip implanted so we can identify you?" No thanks. "Have this bar-code tatood onto your neck?" Not likely.

      This is getting very invasive. And, with everyone in the world having fingerprint information, you can bet that the ever-expa

  • by 4of12 (97621)

    I was wondering how the members here at Slashdot feel about the security risks involved in submitting biometric data to small private companies?

    I'd feel fine about it as long as the small private company signed a contract guaranteeing that the information they have about me would only be used for very specific purposes, never disclosed to third parties and that they would post a bond for compensation should any such disclosure, deliberate or inadvertent, ever occur.

    I'm sure they'd hem and haw and try to

  • 1) The thumbprint is the hardest one to match. Though 1:1 is very good, still....

    2) This is a gym. How many jock boys have opposable thumbs?

    And of course, we've got #3, in the tradition of Douggy Adams..

    3) Scratches, scrapes, dead skin, flakes, etc. will make the image different enough to screw up the match. Add in sweat, gym chalk, bandages etc...
  • Yikes! Am I alone in being surprised how few people find this demand unreasonable?

    Seriously folks, this for a gym membership, not admittance into NASA or the CIA.

    If a non-essential or frivolous business like this demanded that kind of personal information I'd be out of the door in an instant, not because I worry about security, but because it's a wholly unreasonable demand to make of your customers.

    Perhaps more importantly, every time that you allow a business to record unnecessary information about you
    • Hire intelligent and motivated employees, pay them well, train them well, and encourage them to know your customers on a first name basis. Have them get to know the likes and dislikes of your customers, and greet each one by name witha cheery "Hello!"

      Not bad.

      Unfortunately, most employees don't know about the customers, don't care what they like, aren't cheery, and aren't well trained or motivated because they aren't paid well.

      It has something to do with a chicken and an egg.
  • The lockers can be keyed to the biometrics. That should help defeat thievery, and serve customers to allow them to not carry around a badge or key while working out or playing sports.

    Especially if it's as innoxious as a [almost publically available] thumbprint.

    That said, it would be nice to hold biometric data under the same sharing rules as other medical info.
  • This will only be used to solve crimes, like who left semen on the bench press.
  • by weld (4477) on Friday April 29, 2005 @12:03PM (#12385132)

    If anyone is collecting sensitive information from you: SSN, biometric data, etc. you need to get a data retention and privacy policy in writing.

    Will they transfer this data if the company is sold or goes out of business? Remember eToys had a privacy policy that went out the window during bankrupcy. Will they destroy the data when you cancel your membership. What security mechanisms and audit procedures do they have in place?

    When you bring it up it may be the first time they have thought of it so be prepared to wait.

    -weld
    • If anyone is collecting sensitive information from you: SSN, biometric data, etc. you need to get a data retention and privacy policy in writing.

      Too late for that. The FBI already has a copy of my fingerprints. They got it when I signed up as an originator of electronic filed tax returns. Pretty much any other part of the federal or state government could get it if they wanted it, it's probably already in databases accessible to all of the federal government. If the government already has it, I don't

  • The fact that for a cash transaction for tanning right now, they still require the fingerprint sounds like the most stupidly conceived plan ever.

    This is totally appaling, and not that different from businesses asking for things like your social insurance number for no good reason.

    There is no business that I would ever provide this information to. Heck, I wouldn't give this to anyone but the police, and then even only if I was compelled. A gym or a tanning company? Not fsck'ing likely.

    I've already deci
  • To get into Sea World in Orlando with my annual pass I (usually) have to put my hand into some gizmo that measures my it--how far apart my fingertips are, etc. My last pass had my picture on it but my current one doesn't.
  • I was wondering how the members here at Slashdot feel about the security risks involved in submitting biometric data to small private companies?"

    Tin foil hat aside, I don't feel comfortable in submitting biometric data to anyone or thing.

  • I work in the security/smartcard/biometric field.

    Ask them if they store the image or just the template. If they store the image then I would be less likely to do it. If they just store the template then that would be OK in my book.

    Although it is possible to sometimes reconstruct your fingerprint from a template, it is a non-trival operation and if you have people capable of doing something like that, they can do far worse things than get your fingerprint off some health club system.

    Remember, you leave
    • Two problems:

      (a) how can I be sure that they're actually only storing the template?

      (b) if other systems from the same vendor use the same templates, what's to stop someone stealing the template database, and submitting the templates to other systems as if there were fingers present? (e.g. to rig ATM transactions)
      • (a) You can't, and they probably don't know anyway. Worth a try though.

        (b) True, but there are a crapload of template standards and it's rare that any two companies use the same format. There is (currently) no standardization at all. However, like I said, it's super-easy to get fingerprints from all sorts of sources anyway. It's semi-hard to inject raw templates into the system because that would require hacking the server and/or the hardware.

        Anyway, fingerprints are more for convenience than real sec
  • Would You Submit Biometric Data to Join a Gym?

    Sure, why not? I submitted biometric data to join Busch Gardens. They measured the distance between my fingers or something. See the story [newsmax.com] about it. Sure, it's not fingerprints, but what's the difference?

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