Secugen issues tips for disinfecting fingerprint readers as numerous biometric systems suspended

Instructions for cleaning and disinfecting fingerprint readers has been issued by SecuGen as organizations around the world consider modifying their biometric identification procedures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, which can be transmitted through surfaces.

SecuGen readers are made of glass sensor windows and plastic housing, which means the surface touched by subjects can be disinfected with a glass spray or wiped with a tissue, paper towel or cloth dampened with a cleaner. The surface can be sprayed or wetted with common household disinfectant, and the cleaner should be left on the surface for the duration specified by the cleaner. Diluted bleach solutions, anti-microbial sprays and wipes can be used on SecuGen fingerprint readers, though the housing may be damaged if strong solvents, acids, or caustic solutions come into contact with it. Liquid should not be poured directly onto the devices, and excess liquid should be squeezed out of paper towels or cloths used for cleaning.

Many organizations are starting with the more drastic step of suspending biometric system use.

The state election commission of West Bengal is considering switching back from electronic voting machines (EVMs) to paper ballots for state elections, which will also be delayed, in order to prevent the spread of covid-19, the Times of India reports.

India’s federal government recently banned fingerprint time and attendance systems to reduce the chances of disease transmission.

Representatives from different political parties seem to have taken opposing views on the wisdom of a potential change back to a paper-based system.

Fingerprint attendance systems have been suspended by Oman’s Ministry of Education for a month, according to the Times of Oman. The government of Dubai has offered its 58,000 employees the option to work from home and register their attendance through Smart Dubai’s Smart Employee mobile app, rather than the usual biometric machines, Khaleej Times reports. Smart Dubai’s UAE PASS meanwhile provides digital ID for access to many government services.

Schenectady County in New York has is planning to replace its fingerprint biometric time clock with a manual procedure, reports the Times Union, and the NYPD has likewise rolled its entry security procedure to scan only ID cards, not fingerprints, out of “an abundance of caution,” the New York Post writes.

David Podein and Jonathan S. Goldstein of Haber Law write for Law.com that the outbreak adds an additional wrinkle to what is already a somewhat fraught issue for condominium associations, between concerns about privacy and exclusion of some residents. The attorneys suggest that “associations should consider the ramifications of inevitable pushback from residents,” and consider a system that supports an alternate means of access.

In California, the Real ID deadline is only seven months away, but the state has roughly 8 million residents who have not yet undergone the enhanced identity authentication procedures, including biometrics collection, Federal News Network writes. The publication speculates that the federal government will be forced to extend the deadline, rather than encourage thousands of state residents to congregate at local DMV offices.

City workers in Mumbai will also not use biometric attendance-tracking until at least March 31, following a decision by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, The Hinu reports. Indian Railways has likewise suspended biometric attendance systems, among other measures reported by The Economic Times.

The parade of companies introducing facial recognition algorithms tuned to identify people wearing facemasks continues, meanwhile, with Miaxis Biometrics launching an SDK to provide dynamic face detection, liveness detection, and facial detection and recognition with facemasks for recognition or photo ID verification scenarios. The company recommends its SDK for access control and identity verification applications, and put out a 13-second video demonstrating the technology for physical access control. The SDK supports Android, Linux, and Windows implementations.

Iris ID VP of Global Sales and Business Development Mohammed Murad noted the increased attention on contactless biometrics brought on by the outbreak in a Biometric Update guest post in February.

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