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Touch and Go

Fingerprint readers mean better security--and no more tricky passwords.

This story appears in the March 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Eventually, passwords may fall into the "Quaint Security Devices of the Past" category. Biometrics provide a convenient replacement and don't require memorizing obscure combinations of letters and numbers. Fingerprint identification is making its way into portable devices like cell phones, PDAs and laptops--hardware that's vulnerable when lost or stolen. Since businesses can't afford to lose their data, fingerprint readers make more sense than password protection.

The appearance of fingerprint readers in cell phones is the most recent development. They have been released in Japan and Korea, and Europe is next, with the United States following in the next couple of years. However, we already have some options here for laptops and PDAs. External fingerprint scanners have been available for a while, and more recently they've moved up the chain as built-in options.

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