Government authorities in Pakistan and India are putting biometric attendance tracking systems on hold amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus.
In Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the Department of Relief, Rehabilitation & Settlement has issued a list of directives aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, including an immediate suspension of biometric attendance systems.
The aim, of course, is to ensure that coronavirus germs will not be left by an infected individual on a fingerprint-scanning machine, and then picked up by a healthy person using that same attendance system; likewise, other guidelines advise government employees to avoid touching railings and door handles, and emphasize the importance of frequent hand washing.
The directive comes soon after administrators at a government hospital in Delhi suspended their own biometric attendance system as a similar precautionary measure.
The use of fingerprint-scanning time and attendance systems has become increasingly commonplace, with government officials in India having shown a particular interest in using the technology to help make government more accountable. But the suspension of particular systems over COVID-19 concerns may serve to highlight one of the shortcomings of contact-based biometric systems, which, like traditional swipe card punch clock systems, could facilitate the spread of germs. Contactless biometric systems, such as those based on iris or facial recognition –or the contactless MorphoWave fingerprint scanner – offer a solution, and may be embraced more broadly for attendance tracking in the wake of COVID-19.
February 28, 2020 – by Alex Perala