The Washington Post reports on a new biometric identification system that the Montgomery County Department of Recreation plans to begin using this fall. County officials are making this change without holding any public information meetings, a department spokeswoman said; the new biometric ID system was announced in the Montgomery County Summer Guide for Recreation and Parks Programs.
Beginning in the fall, county officials plan to replace the plastic cards customers use to gain access to pools, weight rooms and community center programs at the Department of Recreation’s 33 facilities with biometric finger vein scanners. […]
The scanners, which resemble a computer mouse, create a unique code for each person. The devices read vein patterns by reacting with hemoglobin in blood, said Michael Trader, president of Atlanta-based M2SYS Technology, a vendor of the scanners.
Officials will test the scanners in three locations before using them in all centers in the spring, [Robin Riley, a division chief in the Department of Recreation,] said. The Germantown Indoor Swim Center, the Holiday Park Senior Center in Wheaton and either the Potomac Community Recreation Center or the Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center in Burtonsville will be the first to receive scanners because they are the busiest locations. […]
Officials calculate that the use of scanners, as opposed to cards, could save the department $50,000 annually in supply and maintenance costs for the card system, Riley said. About 90,000 cards are in circulation and, although free to the customer, each costs the department about $1.50, she said. […]
The system is liable for abuse unless personal information is kept separate and deleted when no longer in use, said Mike Mage, co-chairman of the Montgomery chapter of the ACLU of Maryland. […]
The machine does not record fingerprints, and individuals are not tracked, Riley said, adding that data are not accessible by other county departments or the police.