More evidence, if evidence were needed, that one persons fingerprint security system is anothers security disaster.
The Scotsman newspaper reported last week that a fingerprint security system used at Her Majestys Glenochil high-security prison near Stirling, Scotland was going to be abandoned after major problems. The major problem was that it didnt work.
Reportedly, this has meant writing off £3 million ($5.4 million) of public funds, and all this after identical problems with a fingerprint system at another of the countrys prisons.
How bad do things have to get for prison governors to write off an entire security system theyve just installed? The system allowed the unlocking of doors in conjunction with a PIN code, which sounds secure enough. Unfortunately, it turned out that prisoners figured out how to get round the system, so much so that they were able to move around the building at will.
How they did this has not been revealed but it stands to reason that many of the institutions 500 inmates are likely to be practiced in the art of breaking physical security barriers. Thats one of the reasons they ended up in prison.
"The equipment for the fingerprint system is still in place, but it is no longer in use. It will probably stay there for years but never get used, a prison source is quoted at saying.
The supplier hasnt been named, but lets give the unfortunate company the benefit of some doubt. Unless weve been misinformed, biometric systems are designed ot help layer security, and as a means of identification. They are not yet anywhere near ready to be installed as a replacement for conventional security, as they appear to have been in this instance.
The warders have, thankfully, gone back to keys. Its not fool-proof either, but it is a lot cheaper.