Wednesday, January 15, 2014

In Pune, India, there are people who WANT biometric attendance machines

Since I am employed in the biometric industry, I do a lot of reading about things that are going on in my industry. In the course of this reading, I've run across many stories about biometric attendance systems in India. Without fail, these stories describe significant objections to these attendance systems by the people who are forced to use them. Here's an example:

March 25, 2013 - The Karnataka Government College Doctorate Teachers’ Association has filed an objection to the Department of Collegiate Education’s (DCE) move to introduce biometric workforce management systems, calling it a “travesty.”

First reported in the New Indian Express, H Prakash, the president of the teachers’ association, thinks if attendance is an issue, school administrators should be the ones to enforce the policy, not machines.

“It is the principal who is responsible for ensuring that teachers com on time,” Prakash said. “Why should we have principals when devices can do their job?”

However, I recently ran across a story about people in India who are IN FAVOR of biometric attendance machines.

PUNE: City based transport unions have urged the Regional Transport Officer (RTO) and the state transport department to install biometric system at the Regional Transport Offices (RTO) to monitor attendance and punctuality of staff and officers.

Why? Because rickshaw owners and other who are represented by the unions claim that they can't get RTO staff to process their forms. Pradeep Bhalerao says:

"Drivers of transport vehicles like autorickshaws and tempos face delays to complete field tests required for permit renewals and licenses at RTO's Alandi road office due to absence of inspectors."

This is an interesting dynamic, and perhaps we'll see customers in other industries demand that vendors use biometrics. Let's face it - I will personally benefit financially if, when you next get into an Uber car, you ask the driver to provide evidence that their fingerprints were submitted to the FBI's NGI system for a civilian background check. Even if you personally think that fingerprint checks are evil, will you support your cab driver or teacher who refuses to get printed?

(Needless to say, my fear/uncertainty/doubt statements are my own and are not necessarily those of my employer.)
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