My gym took a minute today to take three scans of each of my thumbs so that I can check in with a fingerprint instead of my gym card in future. They store the print as some mathematical formula and not the print itself, they assured me. (Hmm). In the same vein in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal, there is an article about India launching a massive project to record fingerprints and retina scans of all its citizens. The project aims to assign a unique 12-digit number to each of its 1.2 billion people and store them in a massive central database. The identities will help the government to reduce corruption and waste in the distribution of food stamps and other payments.
The Indian government solicited help from Indian employees from Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Intel Corp. – either asking the companies to give the employees a sabbatical, or paid leave to contribute to the project.