Thumbprints in San Francisco?

In late February, San Francisco employees of the de Young and Legion of Honor museums rallied together at City Hall to protest the use of thumbprints to clock in and out of work. They felt that a biometric system was intrusive and unnecessary.

The workers have produced a petition with a total of 1,700 signatures. They urged members of the Board of Supervisors and Mayor Ed Lee to protect their employees’ privacy and personal information.

City workers also explain in a letter to Mayor Ed Lee and the Board of Supervisors that the Fine Arts Museums have “violated the San Francisco Administrative Code, which states that the city cannot disclose employee’s private information unless specifically authorized to do so.”

Workers insisted that a biometric system should not be used because it would make their personal and private information vulnerable to cyber hacks. If their personal information is hacked, individual workers would no longer be protected because physical traits like their fingerprints cannot be changed in comparison with passwords or social security numbers. With advancements in technology, such hacks are very possible.

“We are not opposed to a time clock, just a biometric one,” Larry Bradshaw, Paramedic and SF Vice President of the Service Employees International Union Local 1021, said. “We would agree to use a swipe card to clock in, which is possible with the devices the Corporation of the Fine Arts Museum already has installed.”

Unfortunately, multiple people have lost their jobs for refusing to abide by the thumbprint technology already.

The City Hall seems to believe that San Francisco employees are accepting of this new technology. However, that is clearly not the case.