Venezuelan President Announces Supermarket Biometrics

rp_iStock_Fingerprint-300x225.jpgVenezuela’s president has announced the implementation of biometric fingerprint scanners in the country’s stores as part of an effort to stop smuggling, according to a teleSUR article. President Nicolas Maduro made the announcement at the inauguration of huge state supermarket just outside the socialist republic’s capital at Caracas.

As we reported back in December, South Korean technology provider Suprema is the contractor providing the 20,000 fingerprint scanners. The devices are being installed in supermarkets to limit the number of items any one citizen can purchase as part of an effort to combat a rampant smuggling problem that has seen consumer goods bought in bulk at the cheap prices offered in Venezuela, and then sold on the black market outside the country’s borders. The state is implementing these readers into its own supermarkets, but President Maduro also asserts that nine privately-owned chains also agreed to install them.

It’s a rather unique deployment in the biometrics industry, though this kind of thing could become more commonplace going forward. Some schools in the US, for example, are starting to implement fingerprint scanners in their cafeterias so that kids can scan their fingers to order their food. And more broadly, there are other governments around the world going forward with biometrics initiatives on a similarly grand scale, as in the case of India, where biometric scanners have been installed in all government offices to track employee attendance and improve transparency and accountability.

March 9, 2015 – by Alex Perala