Civil liberties concerns about bank fingerprinting
October 17, 2008 by Personal Liberty News Desk
Each year, millions of foreign visitors to the U.S. are fingerprinted at the airport – but did you know that some banks may also require prints from American citizens?
Bank of America customer Pauline Pavlis told the Press of Atlantic City about her experience trying to cash a check at one of the bank’s branches.
Because she is not a customer, she was asked to give a thumbprint to prove her identity, a practice which Pavlis questioned.
"I feel like it’s infringing on my personal liberties. You hear all the time about misuse of personal information," she told the news provider.
Fingerprinting is a common requirement for noncustomers at larger banks, the article states. Five years ago, one of these people sued Bank of America because it would not cash his check without a print and a Maryland court of appeals sided with the bank.
Timothy Doherty of the New Jersey Bankers Association, said that banks have a right to give preferential treatment to customers and prevent identity fraud.
He added that "the issue of protecting identities outweighs the issue of people concerned about giving thumbprints."
The government began fingerprinting foreign visitors to the U.S. in 2004.