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The Biometrics Of Fingerprints

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Biometric systems first started surfacing in the latter half of the 20th century, even though they didn’t become common until the 21st century. Biometric systems are commonly used for employee management as well as security systems. There are many advantages to biometric systems, but also a couple of disadvantages.

Before getting into the advantages of biometrics let us explain what biometrics are exactly. Biometrics is the measurement and statistical analysis of people’s physical and behavioral characteristics. Biometrics are used mainly for identification and access control to identify individuals. Facial recognition, retinal scans, and digital fingerprints are just a few of the latest examples of this technology.

A big advantage to using biometrics in digital fingerprinting is having a secure identity and, if the fingerprinting is done correctly, extremely accurate. The fact is that you can’t fake or alter your fingerprints. Short of cutting off your finger, your fingerprint is yours. No two people’s fingerprints are the same, so there’s never a chance of mistaken identity.

For employers who choose not to use timesheets, a scanner using biometric fingerprints are a great way to go. The employee simply touches a scanner to clock in or out. All employee record keeping can be done electronically simply by using biometrics.

Biometric digital fingerprint scanning is also the best method for running background checks. It’s faster, cleaner, and more convenient than traditional ink fingerprinting that was the standard for years. Fingerprinting for background checks using ink cards can take weeks to mail in and process and are prone to smudging. Digital fingerprints are sent electronically and the results of the background checks are typically received within three days.

Even personal electronic devices such as iPhones are using fingerprint scanning to unlock the device. You have a choice between the traditional passcode or using your fingerprint, and you can store more than one fingerprint – so if more than one person uses the device you can store a fingerprint for each person. You cannot use your fingerprint to unlock it after rebooting the device, but at any other time, it’s a simple way to unlock the phone.

One of the biggest disadvantages to biometric fingerprint scanning is the cost of the machine, but any new technology implementation is costly. Currently, the cost is likely what’s preventing more companies from using it instead of timesheets as well as for security in their buildings. On the other hand, one major benefit to fingerprint scanning for building security is that you can choose who can go through which doors, and if a person doesn’t have access to a particular area of the building, they can’t access it – because they can’t fake their fingerprint! It’s also much better than using a passcode, which can easily be accessed by unauthorized individuals.


Photo by George Prentzas on Unsplash

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is live scan the same as fingerprinting?

    Live scan is fingerprinting done electronically performed for an agency or an individual to receive a background check from the DOJ and FBI.

  • Who can we provide live scan submissions for?

    We can process transmissions to most request agencies in California with a few exceptions: TSA Pre-Check, HAZMAT, TWIC, FINRA, and Military Purposes. If applicants to any of these agencies require ink fingerprints on FD-258s, any of our locations that offer ink can provide that service.

  • Can I roll my own fingerprints for the certification?

    No, another certified fingerprint roller must process a Live Scan transaction on you. 

  • If I have my fingerprints printed on an ink card, do I have to mail it myself or can you mail it for me?

    You would have to mail it yourself. 

    Your agency should give you instructions on where to mail it to.

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