The Montgomery County Department of Recreation in Maryland has moved from standard membership cards for access to its spaces and programs to biometric access control with equipment provided by biometric technology provider M2SYS, according to a Gazette.Net article.
The technology the department has decided to install at its 33 facilities following a pilot is finger-vein scanning technology, which maps out the vein pattern in a user’s finger by taking a picture using near-infrared light.
News of the switch has been met with mixed reactions by those that regularly use the facilities with some feeling as though it is unnecessary and akin to being fingerprinted following an arrest and others seeing the convenience of not needing to bring a card with them when they make use of the county services. Additionally, due to some privacy concerns, the ACLU has warned that any improper storage or maintenance of private data collected could result in abuse of the system and subsequent legal issues.
Despite this, county officials have tried to assuage fears and worries by making it clear that any data collected will not involve the collection of fingerprints and will not be shared with other county or state departments such as police. Furthermore, the county has acknowledged that in addition to increasing security at its facilities, the new technology would also be saving the department roughly $50,000 annually by not having to issue cards anymore.
Read the full story here.