Biometric Security --- worth it?


Not counting those who work for the CIA or FBI, any readers out there have to access their office spaces with one of these doohickeys pictured here? If so, drop a comment and let's commiserate, because biometrics—at least for this blogger—ain't all what it's cracked up to be. Right?

When I first heard my office was implementing a fingerprint-activated, biometric badge, I was sort of excited in that way I sometimes get when Steve Jobs introduces a new product at Macworld, or when I load an often-frequented Web site and discover a totally new design (remember the day Yahoo's new Beta Web-mail became available not too long ago? Sa-weeet!).

But like that Mercedes-Benz owner who got his finger chopped off by the Malaysian car thieves looking to get around the car's biometric immobilizer, I now understand the drawbacks of such hi-tech security. And while I still have all my digits, there is a part of me that feels like I've lost something—namely, time.

That's because while the technology is mostly there, it's still not quite there, evident by the long queue of cars honking madly behind me in the mornings as I try again and again to position my thumb just right while accessing the parking lot card reader that raises the security gate.

I also need to activate the card when entering the elevator and often find myself shooting up to a higher floor than I intended as someone calls the elevator above me during the long interval I'm there fumbling with the device waiting for it to recognize my fingerprint and clear my floor for access.

The good news? If someone steals or duplicates the badge, they can't access the building"¦ unless, of course, I'm vacationing in Malaysia and"¦ well, you can imagine the rest.