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Notary Bulletin

Palmprints And Photos: ID Security Or Invasion Of Privacy?

With more people seeking healthcare services using false names and identities, hospitals are adding security features to verify patient identity, including palm print readers and photographing patients. While some observers see this as a necessary safeguard, others fear it’s a violation of patient privacy.

New York journalist Natasha Singer recently wrote about her experience having her palm scanned for security purposes at a local medical center. While she was told the process was used to help protect against identity theft, Singer said she felt uncomfortable with the idea of a hospital retaining a copy of her biometric ID. It was only after she was asked provide a photo as well that Singer was told the scan and picture were optional. “After the palm scan, that seemed like data-collection overkill,” Singer wrote.

The Healthcare Professional Section would like to know what you think about this issue. Notaries are responsible for ensuring signers are positively identified to prevent document fraud, but they also have a responsibility to safeguard the privacy of a signer’s information. Do you believe requiring photos, biometric scans or extra identification methods are necessary to confirm the identity of patients in a healthcare setting, or is it too intrusive? 

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