British government suggests fingerprint-activated iPod’s to help reduce crime

Posted by Frederick Roberts

London (UK) The British government has released a review on crime, and one of the suggestions on helping to tackle the problem of people being mugged for their valuable consumer electronic devices is to make them fingerprint activated.

The review proposes to "Work in partnership with businesses to crime-proof their products, services and processes to the highest standards. One example could be introducing fingerprint activation of MP3 players."

Biometrics is already used on many laptops, such as the IBM ThinkPad range for one example, to help secure data. The problem with this type of security on something like an MP3 player is that the biometrics is used to secure the data rather than the device – the idea being that if somebody steals your ThinkPad they’re not going to get your data which is usually the more valuable of the two.

If one could simply reset or wipe a device it would probably not deter criminals. If however there were a more complex system in place, whereby you could only reset the device if say it were connected to its home PC first, then the measure might help to prevent crime.

Given that people have been murdered for their cell phones and MP3 players in the past, trialling such measures to prevent these crimes can only be a good thing. Whether or not biometrics will be the solution remains to be seen.