The impact of the coronavirus goes well beyond healthcare and cancelled industry events. The New York Post is reporting that the New York Police Department has ditched fingerprint security procedures at NYPD Headquarters at One Police Plaza in Manhattan.
The decision was made by the NYPD security unit in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Before the edict, officers needed to scan their ID badge and their fingerprint to gain access to the building, but forcing officers to make physical contact with (and share) a limited number of scanners was not in keeping with sanitary best practices as the outbreak continues to accelerate. As it stands, New York already has 46 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
For the time being, the NYPD will station officers at all points of entry to carry out manual checks of people’s photo IDs. The precaution will ensure a high level of security while the fingerprint scanners are out of commission, though a police spokesperson indicated that the department might explore other options if the fingerprint scanners need to be taken offline for an extended period of time.
While it is an understandable precaution, the decision does highlight one of the drawbacks of contact-based fingerprint scanners, at least when those scanners are being used by thousands of people in a high-traffic environment like a building or a stadium. It’s also why contactless options like IDEMIA’s MorphoWave may become more popular as venues search for a more hygienic form of access control, since they enable fingerprint recognition without exposing users to pathogens that can be transmitted through surface contact.
In the meantime, several major events have been postponed due to health concerns. ISC West has been moved to the summer, while the KNOW Identity Conference has been delayed until a later date that is yet to be determined.
Source: NY Post
March 11, 2020 – by Eric Weiss