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Toshiba fingers biometric laptop

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Toshiba is to give customers the option to replace the traditional name-and-password style logon with an optical fingerprint reader. The company is working on a line of notebooks which will ship with a biometric PC card and BioLogon software supplied by Identix, a biometric authentication specialist.

Identix CEO Robert McCashin said the Tosh OEM deal marked the beginning of real security for laptop computers. He said the introduction of biometric security at the BIOS level locked down access completely "to any part of the device, without proper biometric identification".

It can only be a matter of time before someone loses a finger along with a laptop.

What's my names, whats my names

Biometric authentication products are on the increase and are being touted as money-saving devices.

In Oceanside, California, city workers now have fingerprint ID for everything. Their tech support was spending so much time handling calls from people who had forgotten their passwords, that the installation of the machines - at about $100 a pop - paid for itself almost immediately.

Biometric devices can be used as a way of initiating a digital signatures - and since the law changed to recognise a digital signature for online transaction, product sales are expected to grow quickly.

Research from Gartner group confirms that the market is looking healthy. Although only $60 million worth of kit was shipped this year, forecasters say the market will worth hundreds of millions by 2003. ®

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