Monday, January 17, 2011


The key to getting into our apartment -- a finger scanner.

This is another one of those things that is far more common here then it is in the United States: Getting your finger scanned instead of using identification cards or keys.

Doctor's offices use these to look up your information and records. Apartments like ours, use them as keys. The back of each Chilean carné (identity card) has a fingerprint on the back and anytime you get something notarized you use apply your fingerprint to the document you're getting notarized. The first two seem practical. People sometimes forget their wallet, a card, or their keys. But you always have your fingers handy, so there's never any looking things up, calling a locksmith, having to drive home to get something. But on your ID card? I don't really see the usefulness in that.

At first I was a bit squeamish about this. I think it's my American skepticism and how present the phrase Big Brother is in U.S. vernacular, but the idea of your whole life being associated with your fingerprint gave me the creeps.

And, although this is highly improbable, what happens if you lose your finger? And what do people without their right index finger do? Is there a hierarchy of the digits? What about people without arms, how would such a person get into our building? I guess the concierge (which almost every building has) would have to let them in. I did however find out that there is a hierarchy of the digits, and at one time knew what finger was second most important after the right index finger. But I've forgotten.


1 comment:

  1. we have finger scanners at my gym. its kind of weird too, but at least I odn't have to worry about losing my key!