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Massachusetts community approves then rejects fingerprint background check bylaw

Categories Biometrics News

At a town meeting in Lowell, Massachussets earlier this month a fingerprinting bylaw was passed, but then a vote was re-cast and it was defeated, indicating some confusion around its purpose and purview.

Reported in the Lowell Sun, the law was submitted by the police chief and would require fingerprinting and criminal background checks for people holding specific positions: door-to-door salespeople, pawn brokers, hackney drivers and ice-cream vendors, to name a few.

According to the report, police would take this information and then issue business licenses on the back of the data. Fingerprinting would cost $100 and would not be required for existing businesses.

The new bylaw first passed with a narrow margin of 39 to 38, though following a re-cast, it was defeated 33 to 51.

The use of fingerprints for background checks is increasing in the United States, and has been a hot topic in the news as of late. Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, American Senators John McCain and Chuck Schumer recently spoke about their framework for immigration reform which they said could require biometric information to check employment status, leading many to suggest social security cards could soon come with biometrics.

Reported in Wired Magazine this morning, immigration reform legislation, currently in front of the U.S. Senate, contains language mandating the creation of an “innocuously-named ‘photo tool,’ a massive federal database administered by the Department of Homeland Security and containing names, ages, Social Security numbers and photographs of everyone in the country with a driver’s license of other state-issued photo ID.”

Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, day care workers in Georgia will undergo fingerprint background checks starting in 2017 for all current employees and 2014 for all new-hires.

Also reported previously, American Senator Dianne Feinstein proposed legislation last year in response to the Newtown, Conn., murders that represents a tougher ban on assault weapons and would see all gun owners fingerprinted and photographed for positive identification.

Similarly, Martin O’Malley, the Democratic Governor of Maryland previously looked to introduce a provision which would force prospective gun owners to provide fingerprints to state police.


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