The arrival of the Memorial Day weekend meant, for me, the opportunity to try out my gleaming new grill on several half-inch-thick porterhouse steaks, and, more importantly as you’ll read, the opening of our town pool.

Our 2008 pool debut was aided and abetted by consecutive days of as fine a weather pattern as I can ever recall for that holiday weekend. So before venturing out, I dedicated a minimum of one half hour toward the annual forage of looking for my family’s membership cards.

I know most of you have been through that annual ritual as well. Perhaps not for pool cards specifically, but any laminated card with a blurry photo that mysteriously embeds itself in the nooks and crevices of a house. I did however, manage to locate two of four cards, which I labeled a moral victory.

I had my apology speech all memorized for the admissions director, who to my delight, informed me that they would not be using cards this year. “Too many people lose them,” she said looking directly at me.
Too late, the inference was clear.

Instead, after you posed for a picture, you were instructed to place your index finger in what looked like a lighted pen holder. When I inquired as to what it was, I was told that all members would be fingerprinted. Once you placed your finger in the holder, your photo would appear and that’s all that would be required for check in.

That process had a rather familiar ring to it.

For the past several weeks, the issue of fingerprinting candidates who sit for the CPA Exam has been circulating throughout the profession, either via mass e-mail blasts or brought up as a discussion point as it was during last month’s meeting of  the AICPA Spring Council.

Talking points ranged from privacy issues, to a lack of disclosure — whether real or perceived — by the institute and other parties regarding the exam’s new security procedure.

Again, I’m not going to become ensnared in a debate about privacy issues or security overkill. As I wrote in this space several weeks ago, the evolution of cyber crime and identity theft has dictated an uber-sophistication with regard to security strategies.

If our town pool can implement fingerprinting as an admissions procedure, then it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise when it’s employed by testing centers. Especially where professional credentials are concerned.

Now safety and storage of that information is another matter and to be sure, fodder for a future column.
Apparently no matter your position on the subject,  biometrics is here to stay — whether it’s testing for a credential, or avoiding a toddler on an inflated sea horse.

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