Biometric ATMs coming to rural India

Darren Murph
D. Murph|01.21.07

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Biometric ATMs coming to rural India
Considering all the ATM hacking that's been going on of late, it's not all that surprising to see those "uber-secure" fingerprint readers hitting mini-banks in Japan and Columbia, and now a pilot program is getting set to install 15 biometric ATMs at "village kiosks in five districts across southern India." The fingerprint-reading machines are expected to serve around 100,000 workers, primarily farmers and other laborers, who will finally be able to withdraw funds directly from a machine rather than suffering through the corrupt hand-me-down process that often steals money away from already poor workers. AGS Infotech, who is supplying the first batch of systems for the trial, is interested in seeing if the system actually works out, as many villagers have trouble interacting with any type of computing interface, and because many villages have their own dialects, making a UI that can communicate to everyone is difficult. Of course, there are individuals who suggest that these systems will only incite crime, as thieves look to new methods (read: hacking a thumb or two) to extract funds, but proponents of the system say that this is no different than armed criminals forcing someone to give up their PIN number at gunpoint. Nevertheless, the trial is slated to start soon, and there's quite a few outsiders watching intently to gauge its eventual success or failure, as analysts predict that "over 100,000 ATMs" could be necessary to handle India's booming economy in the next few years.
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