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Job centers across the United Kingdom are due to get a technological makeover, courtesy of signature and biometric recognition pads, reports IT Pro Portal.
The initiative will see 700 job centers across Britain fitted with free Wi-Fi and 6,000 new PC workstations that the BBC reports will be subject to the same level of security as government systems, as they will operate on the same network.
The biometric signature pads themselves are the same kind used in banks in central Europe, with security a key concern. The biometric software measures how someone writes their signature, comparing it to six sample signatures provided by the applicant when they first register at the job center. The signature has to match 80% to be acceptable to the system. “It’s very consistent and individual to you, like a fingerprint,” business analyst John Oldroyd told the BBC.
“In terms of the signature data we store, we don’t store images, we store data which builds up a signature profile. If anyone did hack in there’s no way that could be turned back into a visible signature,” Oldroyd explained.
Gizmodo claims that 23,000 of these electronic signing pads will be dispatched to job centers, and that they are due to save £2 million (around $3.2 million) per year.
Baljeet Mahal, branch manager at the London Bridge job center where the scheme was piloted explained that the technological advances are a significant departure from traditional methods: “We’ve moved away from customers coming in and standing in a queue waiting to be directed. We don’t have podiums, we don’t have public-access phones. If you look back to Job Center Plus from years ago, we had boards with paper cards with vacancies on them – we don’t have those anymore.”
The BBC explains that although the computers won’t be ‘formally monitored’, screens would be in plain sight and staff would be on hand to ‘have a chat’ with anyone thought to be using the computers for non job center business.
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Author Alan Martin, ESET