The fingerprint stunt: Are the scanners a safety or PR move?

Have you ever had your parents resolve something for you and the solution is just really inconvenient? They add a lock to your door for safety and now you have to remember a code to get in the house?

This is how we view the library fingerprint scanners. It’s a measure that is supposed to make us feel safer, but in actuality, it’s really just an inconvenient step to a bigger process (of safety…or marketing).

First off, let’s address the elephant in the room. Do these fingerprint scanners actually stop students from getting robbed in the library? The answer is “not really”. The library is still open to whoever wants to enter, student or not.

The university poured a whole lot of cash into implementing the fingerprint scanners, and while the fancy new tech boxes look promising, we’re not so sure if anything’s different. The fact is, that students can still enter -even without a fingerprint in the database, by just submitting their Panther card, and access to guests is open as well, as it was last semester

Honestly, without metal detectors, the problem really is not solved, weapons can still be sneaked in. But the bigger question is whether the scanners were implemented to diminish that possibility. We still don’t know if a gun was actually involved in last year’s robberies. Maybe the university administration just feels that students are less likely to rob their fellow classmates and intimidated by the new machines. And that, only time can answer.

But students have already voiced concerns about the fingerprint scanners. On page 4, Tyler Montgomery voiced her displeasure with giving up such private information as your fingerprint. “I honestly don’t like the idea of them having my information. I don’t like that at all” Montgomery said.

In today’s world, companies or administrations have come under much scrutiny for collecting too much data or information. The big fear would be “what if this information fell into the wrong hands”? This is a valid question as what would happen if your fingerprint was taken by hackers? Despite the university setting up fingerprints to be included only in their own database, the new digitalized reality comes with no promises of what hacking can do. But then again, think of all the information Georgia State already has about us, would a fingerprint really change that much?

What’s crossing through many students’ minds is also that this might be as much of a PR move as it is a safety comeback; merely a message to students that something was done in response to the multiple library robberies in the 2015-2016 academic year, but that the response was hollow of any true additional safety. The Georgia State administration may have implemented these fingerprint scanners because they think it will make a difference, but while also knowing that it will make them look good to students, media, and parents.

Whether or not these changes will actually help campus safety remains to be seen. For right now, let’s all have fun waiting in long lines to get in the library.

We want to hear what you think. Tell us your thoughts on the new fingerprint scanners. Submit your letter to the editor at

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