After we shape our institutions they then shape us.

Not my fingerprints-no worries!

Not my fingerprints-no worries!

Profiling; it is a strange word isn’t it? We associate the word with criminal background checks, socially immoral people, and making sure we are getting the best person, with a pristine background, to do the job.

Sometimes profiling creates employment. I read Re-Intreo-ducing the workhouse in Politico.ie with amusement today. Although it is based on the Irish experience of profiling the unemployed for deserved unemployment benefits, I can relate it to an experience I had in August 2012 here in the US when changing from one university to another.

In order to apply for a college course in education, I had to have my fingerprints taken by a company called C.E.S. This is the second time in just 18 months that I have had to do this. I had to cancel my Pilates class at a local gym, I teach the class so I lost pay, drive to the site, fill out a form, hand over a bank draft for, if memory serves me correctly, $55.00 and get fingerprinted.

Being fingerprinted (picture via colliersheriff.org)

Being fingerprinted (picture via colliersheriff.org)

Now I am happy to prove that I have no criminal behaviour in my past, working with children demands that. But keep in mind I had to do this twice in 18 months and all because I changed from one university to another.

But the real butt kicking part of it is: the finger print cards are destroyed after applicants have cleared the background check! Instead of storing the files digitally, the cards are destroyed and should I decide to change universities, apply for a job as a substitute teacher or full-time teacher in any given town, I have to go through the process again.

Sometimes the way to decrease unemployment is to create jobs, like the one above. Who pays for it though? By creating a series of hoops to jump through and red tape to cut through we create jobs within the community.

Global Entry fingerprint kiosk (Picture via http://www.globalentry.gov/)

Global Entry fingerprint kiosk (Picture via http://www.globalentry.gov/)

I asked the girl doing my fingerprints at C.E.S. about the future of the card, was it filed, where did it go? She told me after I had cleared the background check my card was destroyed.

When I asked her why they didn’t store digital fingerprints she told me she had never heard of that technology. It does exist, I have completed the US government’s trusted traveller’s program Global Entry and all of their fingerprints are stored digitally.

Simple fingerprint analysis device used by local tanning salon.

Simple fingerprint analysis device used by local tanning salon.

So in reality, the technology is there, but if used, could put a lot of people out of work. The technology isn’t that expensive. If the local tanning salon can use it to determine if a client is really who they say they are, then how expensive can it be?

There is no doubt that people working in certain occupations should be fingerprinted and comply with full background checks, teaching is one such profession. But what has happened is that the institutions we’ve put in place are costing us money. Sound familiar? I wonder if bankers and wall street guys have to get fingerprinted?

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