By Edward L. Cardenas
The Detroit News
July 18, 2005
CLINTON TOWNSHIP -- The Clinton Township Board of Trustees tonight
will consider a state-of-the-art fingerprint access system for
township computers, the first such system to be used in Macomb County.
The proposed system uses fingerprint technology rather than passwords
and would be funded through federal Homeland Security money.
"We have really tried to get into the 21st century," said Brian
Moynihan, director of Clinton Township's department of information
"Once you make it available, you have to make it secure."
Clinton Township officials initially instituted a standard password
policy in March for employees who use the computers. While the
password system provided some security, there was room for lapses if
employees wrote down passwords or shared them, officials say.
To provide an even higher level of security, the township began to
investigate using fingerprint technology to log into the community's
computer system. Similar systems are used by U. S. Department of
Defense, the California Police Department and the city of Glendale,
No other Macomb County communities use this technology, Moynihan said.
Some township employees have had the chance to try out the new system
and at least one, Planning Director Carlo Santia, said he welcomes the
high-tech system for its ability to simplify working life.
"The (old) passwords are a combination of seven numbers and letters,"
Santia said. "This will just make it so much easier. It provides a
unique password or entry into the system that can't be duplicated by
The Board of Trustees will consider seeking bids on a system during
its board meeting at 6:30 p.m. today in the Civic Center, 40700 Romeo
Moynihan said the system could be used in up to 300 desktop computers
in the township hall, police and fire departments.
The cost would be about $55,000 for hardware, software, licensing and
"Information security is our paramount concern," Moynihan said.
The township's information technology department has used the system
successfully for nearly three months. It involves a small 2- by 3-inch
sensor attached to the computer that takes a quick snapshot of the
finger print, which serves as a sort of "key" to access to the
"It is infinitely more secure than a password," added Moynihan.
You can reach Edward L. Cardenas at (586) 468-0529 or ecardenas at
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