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On-Demand Fingerprint Machines Let Police ID in the Street

Mobile fingerprint scanners are hitting the beat in the UK, helping police officers issue identity checks on the street. Right now, police must take a suspect into custody to issue fingerprint checks.

Thanks to the scanner, the size of a cell phone, the time of checking identity would go form from 67 minutes, to five, thus reducing the number of police needed by 366 officers. The next step would be to transfer mugshot images to verify identity when fingerprints are not available. To see why some worry that the government is overreaching with this technology,


Officials insist that the prints will be deleted once checked. Proponents also believe that the procedure would reduce the number of mistaken arrests. Yet, others worry that the pricey gadgets could violate civil liberties by increasing surveillance and paving the way for an expansion of powers toward totalitarianism.

Do you worry that governments may collect too much biometric information about citizens? Is the UK asking people to give up their freedom and identity for the illusion of security?


Join The Conversation
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
Mixed feelings, I don't feel that anyone should have to "submit" to a random fingerprinting. Although I think it has the potential to help innocent people, it also has the potential to assist in racial profiling/religious profiling? I would like to see after this is done how many people who look "Arab" etc have gotten finger printed compared to other groups?
janneth janneth 8 years
Certain jobs require fingerprinting before you can begin work, and I have never heard anyone complain.
kranky kranky 8 years
I was in the UK last month and couldn't believe how sophisticated the security systems were at Heathrow and on the Underground. We definitely felt safe, yet things moved efficiently. We were in Italy after the Tube bombings and met some Londoners who were understandably shaken by the whole thing. Their impression was that the UK had allowed terrorists to live freely. I'd be interested in hearing the opinion of some of the UK posters. Stateside - I think that 'the illusion of security' is a pretty loaded and leading question. I live in DC. My best friend was in the Pentagon the day it was attacked. She's fine, but my husband and I know other people who died. I was very anti-big brother until Sept. 11th, but I have relaxed my position since. I do not believe this is an either/or situation.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I dont see anything wrong with it, Criminals are going high tech why shouldnt the police.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Erosion of civil liberties in the name of safety...not something I like to see spread to other democratic nations.
stephley stephley 8 years
Bad idea - "1984" was a novel, not a blueprint.
janneth janneth 8 years
Lots of advantages here for innocent people. Especially certain targeted minorities.
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