While there's been plenty of uproar about national ID cards and passports with RFID chips, it seems that police in the UK are taking things one step further, giving police portable fingerprint scanners, in order to identify suspects quickly. They say this will help them identify people who give false identities... but they also say that the person will need to give permission before their fingerprints are scanned. Still, it's not hard to see how this works -- if you don't agree to having your fingerprint scanned, you're suddenly a lot more suspicious looking. Also, there are always questions about how far this eventually goes. The police claim that the device has "safeguards" against misuse, but safeguards don't often stay safe very long, but a bigger issue may simply be others deciding they want to make use of the devices as well. Want to buy something? Rather than presenting ID, why not just have your fingerprints checked against the national database? We've already seen some grocery stores experiment with fingerprint scanners to replace shopper cards, so why not just connect that into a federal database? And, even better, if someone else figures out how to figures out how to copy your fingerprint it's not like you can just go out and get a new finger.
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