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back to article London Underground cleaners to refuse fingerprint clock-on

Cleaners working on the London Underground will resort to industrial action this week in protest against the introduction of a controversial biometric clocking-in system. Starting at just after midnight on Thursday morning, "up to 300 cleaners" will join in the action by refusing to scan their fingerprints every time they clock …

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Anonymous Coward

Think of the children

They too have to be scanned to get library books in most schools

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Re: Think of the children

Only if the parents agree to it.

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Re: Think of the children

Or in my lads case, to use the canteen. Personally I had no problem with it ... it was hardly space-age kit, and it saved the kids having to carry money and incidentally, meant kids who didn't pay for school dinners weren't singled out in anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Think of the children

Probably the majority of them are worried that if the time clocking system finger print is ever linked to the immigration finger print system, they will be out of a job (and back out of the country!)....

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Re: Think of the children

Do you mean that only illegal immigrants can accept to make such a dirty job for so few money?

Without immigration, we would have to do all the dirty jobs ourselves.... phew, we"re lucky, we still find people desperate enough to do them and be paid peanuts.

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Re: Think of the children

Aye, let's get 'em used to being treated like crims from an early age.

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Big Brother

Re: Think of the children

Normalising having to provide your finger prints for services is pretty scary if you ask me

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dlr

Re: Think of the children

'...Without immigration, we would have to do all the dirty jobs ourselves.... "

Wrong. Without immigration the company would have to offer high enough wages to attract native born workers.

Companies that say 'you can't get people to do that job anymore' really mean 'we can't get people to do that job anymore at the salary we are offering'.

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Re: Think of the children

@edge_e

Why?

Are you wanted for some misdemeanor that you think you've gotten away with up until now? If you answer "No" then you still sound suspicious. If you think it's because you'll be framed by someone else for something you didn't do then I suggest you throw your debit/credit cards away and go live in a cave in the woods wearing a tin hat! life is too short to worry about the world conspiring against you. Or are you just a scaremonger?

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Re: Think of the children

So what would be the better method? Just out of curiosity...

I mean, I'm not in favour of fingerprinting or centralised databases of biometrics, but my reasoning is for different purposes (not giving you a way out!).

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Re: Think of the children

We SHOULD be doing these lesser paid jobs - doing these jobs gives people the determination to work hard and better themselves - it drives them to ensure their children listen at school, get good results and have a better quality of life - whilst we continue to open the door to migration allowing our workforce to get fatter and lazier - what do we expect??? Close the door - get our workforce off its arse and lets get back on track!

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Re: having to provide your finger prints for services is pretty scary

Wake up, people, overthrow your governments

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Re: Think of the children

@Peshman

The whole 'nothing to hide, nothing to fear' argument is so much tired old horseshit. It has been debunked time and time again by people who are, no doubt, much smarter than you. If you doubt it (which is, after all, a sensible position to adopt), do a bit of research for yourself, rather than just parroting the first thing you heard someone on the bus read from their copy of the Daily Mail this morning.

Just for starters, the right to privacy is guaranteed under the European Convention on Human Rights; having your fingerprints taken in order to do your job is arguably an intrusion into this privacy. If you give up your personall biometric information to your employer, it is the first step towards giving it up as a matter of course. It is open to abuse by employers, governments, and criminals. You cannot guarantee the security of that information once it is given up, and unlike the PIN on your bank card, you cannot change it if it is compromised.

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Re: Think of the children

Quite right. And think of the training/education costs saved. Import trained workers: Sack the trainers. Problem alleviated for a while.

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Re: Think of the children

Yawn.

DVLA will sell your information to practically anyone for less than a fiver. ACPO also sell info from the PNC. Credit card companies sell it to reference agencies, they "sell" it to DWP/HMRC.

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Re: Think of the children

I doubt it's illegal immigrants. They can't get these kinds of jobs given the level of checking going on.

Having someone else sign on for you is the main issue ISS are trying to combat (it's rife in a lot of industries and it's possible that someone legit may then hand over their ID to a 3rd party for "nefarious" or other purposes (sub-sub-contracting?)). Using something they can't handoff to someone else is a logical step (Although palm scanners work better - fingerprints can be cloned off onto a latex glove.)

Added to fear of being caught fiddling their hours, the other fear for some cleaners is being caught fiddling on benefits - but then again most such fiddling is under-the-table anyway.

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Facepalm

Re: Think of the children

@JimmyPage

The problem with that is certain people would end up faking prints to get free stuff, it is not hard to do..

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Anonymous Coward

OH NOES! FINGERPRINTING!!!!!!11111ONE

Of course the fact that the system doesn't store an image of the finger in question is neither here nor there...

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Re: OH NOES! FINGERPRINTING!!!!!!11111ONE

Does it compute some kind of 'hash' and compare it against a stored value, which was generated when the fingerprintee was first registered on the system?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: OH NOES! FINGERPRINTING!!!!!!11111ONE

Yes, but if you got your hands on that hash what neferious nonsense could yo do with it? The way the union is framing the argument it's as if their whole hand is being scanned to police spec levels

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Anonymous Coward

Re: OH NOES! FINGERPRINTING!!!!!!11111ONE

Of course it's neither here nor there. The real issue is one of trust. When you fingerprint employees you're saying right up front that you don't trust them and expect them to be trying to scam you.

Given the imbalance of power between a foreign employer and what are obviously vulnerable workers with few options, I find this sort of behavior contemptible.

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Re: OH NOES! FINGERPRINTING!!!!!!11111ONE

Yes, it si only a hash that is stored by fingerprint 'readers'. However, as mentioend by other posters, it puts the employeer in a position of non-trust with their employer.

I have left a job before because my employer treated their staff like they were under constant suspicion, going as far as to have hidden cameras in fake smoke detectors and PIR detectors. If an employer treats their employees with no respect, they have no respect for the employer back. Anyone with any other option leaves to work somewhere else, those who are left are there because they have no other option - either because they are (mostly legal) immigrants who have a language barrier, or for any one of a number of other reasons. This is tantamount to exploitation by the employer.

At the end of the day, there is no need for employers to make their staff sign in with a fingerprint when issuing them with a swipe-card does just as well, and reduces the time they take to clock in.

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Re: OH NOES! FINGERPRINTING!!!!!!11111ONE

Companies don't usually attempt to implement these kinds of systems without good reason and I'd really like to see ISS' side of the story.

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Devil

Sounds more like an issue with being identified, which I personally feel is a good idea bearing in mind all the weirdos that want to bomb stuff.

Then again, its going to be a bit difficult to bunk off when you need to clock in/out with a fingerprint.

Bless must be a tough life to moan about something so trivial.

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Alert

Sounds more like an issue that you can't clock in and out your friends.

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First they came for the cleaners but I did not speak because I wasn't a cleaner

....

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Just what I was thinking

I'm okay with it as long as they let ME store MY personal data at MY specified location under MY specified disclosure policies. If someone wants to check ANY of MY personal information, first they should tell me why, and then MY preferences would control whether or not the access is granted.

As it would apply in this case, the hash code for my fingerprint would be stored on my system. When I clocked into their system, it would have to contact the system where MY data was stored and ask for permission to look at it. Their system would have to prove its identity and explain why they wanted to check it, and then I would (under normal circumstances) have granted the permission. Retention of MY personal information for ANY other purposes than those to which I agreed should be a crime.

Possession is nine points of the law. Wage slavery still a form of slavery.

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Re: Just what I was thinking

I understand what you're saying, however, as you're clearly a dodgy individual who can't be trusted to sign on without biometric confirmation that it is in fact you, how can you be trusted to confirm your fingerprint identity?

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'...staff felt "brutalised" by the system, which made them feel like "slabs of meat"'

and...

'infringed the cleaners' "dignity"'

...give me a break.

My concern, if this system was implemented at my place of work, would simply be for the security of the bio-metric data. I wouldn't feel 'brutalised' in the slightest...and my dignity went out of the window a long time ago.

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Irony.

...And yet people will be queueing up to pay £400+ for a #phone that does the same thing...

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If your life is so shitty that all you have left is a tenuous grasp on a few remaining shreds of dignity, then conceivably that dignity becomes your most precious possession.

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lowest of the low

I've been a cleaner and believe me, you know where you stand in the hierarchy. Anything I could grab to give me a bit of dignity, I would. If cleaners for London Underground need to do biometrics, make everyone who works there use it, including managers. After all, if it's 'just a swipe', nobody could object.

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Ah, so if you can't have dignity, then no-one must.

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Devil

Re: Irony.

'...staff felt "brutalised" by the system, which made them feel like "iPhone users"'

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Anonymous Coward

> and my dignity went out of the window a long time ago.

Fair enough, but some of us still keep ours, and try to make sure other people keep theirs.

It does not matter how poor or desperate someone is, and how powerful you are relative to them: you should never take away their dignity. You break this rule at your own risk and peril.

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rvt

Re: Irony.

1) there is a difference between beeing forced to do something and doing it voluntary.

2) we have an idea how the iphone's fingerprint system works ( it doesnt store a picture of your fingerprint) and we have no idea how the tube system works, it could store a picture of your fingerprint?

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Haha, okay. I actually had in mind - when refering to my lack of dignity - the fact that I have kids and walked around for most of the day last week with a fire-engine sticker on my backside. But read it how you wish, I'd hate for you not to have an opportunity to get on your high-horse.

But it stands, in my eyes. I can't see how this reduces anyones dignity one bit. It's a method of logging the beginning and end of a working day. Nobody is brutalised either, and union's using high-handed language for such a thing turns me off any sympathy I could possibly generate for this.

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Anonymous Coward

Ah, so if you can't have dignity, then no-one must.

Or... "if you're not taking their dignity away, I'll be fucked if I'll have you take mine away".

Glass half full me.

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Ummm....

Can't....or aren't being respected enough to be treated with it.....?

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Re: It does not matter how poor or desperate someone is

Yes, and let me extend this notion for ya - no matter how stupid their religion or beleives or their leaders are or how primitive or savage their culture is and no matter how powerful you are relative to them, you must never take away their dignity.

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Re: Irony.

"1) there is a difference between beeing forced to do something and doing it voluntary."

Is there. That had escaped me.

#alsoirony

"2) we have an idea how the iphone's fingerprint system works ( it doesnt store a picture of your fingerprint) and we have no idea how the tube system works, it could store a picture of your fingerprint?"

Assuming you totally trust what Apple say, because they have never lied about (in)security features and functionality before.

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They're just pissed off because Bob can't sign on Carol while she nurses her second hangover off the week.

Good lord, ISS is actually requiring people to work the hours they're paid for instead of bunking off? Oh, the inhumanity of it all...

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Ever simpler. Carol who has the hangover can phone the automated telephone line to clock on from anywhere. Doesn't need Bob's help.

But let's turn this on its head. If there was a fire during cleaning, how would they know who was where? How do you take a headcount at the marshalling point if you don't know who started work, or worse, how many fireman do you commit to a search when Carol hasn't been accounted for?

Miners and plenty other hazardous environments use "clocking" to keep people safe. "I counted them all out and I counted them all back."

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What happens when the readers don't work? Let not forget how easy it is to fool most of the fingerprint scanners.

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Anonymous Coward

Frankly I don't see the problem

It would help for any time I forgot my ID card at work and had to sheepishly approach reception, and receive an utterly useless temp card that denied me access to server rooms, storage rooms etc.

Another chance for Bob Crow to spout hot air and cause inconvenience to Londoners.

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Re: Frankly I don't see the problem

Suppose you got the job (or several of the jobs) and instead of turning up yourself "sub-contracted" the work out to a cheaper illegal immigrant - keeping the difference.

Especially if you are the same minority group yourself and are relying on "all looking the same" to the managers.

Before the tightening up of security it was pretty much standard for most of the low paid workers at Heathrow.

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Re: Frankly I don't see the problem

You read it wrong. Bob Crow isn't about to inconvenience London again with this one, as they're not striking. They're still working, they're just not going to use the fingerprint logging system.

And before you say it, while I am a Union Member (and proud of it), it's not with the RMT. I'm with Unite.

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Re: Frankly I don't see the problem

Forgetting your ID card doesn't seem to me to be anybody else's problem.

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Re: Frankly I don't see the problem

He must not be well.

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