Metro-North Railroad Collecting Fingerprints from Employees

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Metro-North Railroad Collecting Fingerprints from Employees
Short Title Metro-North Railroad Forces Engineers and Conductors to Scan Their Fingerprints
Location New York, New York
Date Late 2019

Taxonomy Surveillance
Information Identifying
Threat Actors Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Affected Metro-North Railroad engineers and conductors
High Risk Groups
Secondary Consequences

Metro North Railroad was found to forcing conductors and engineers scan a fingerprint to keep track of their work hours as a strategy against overtime cheats.


In December 2019 Metro North Railroad (owned by Metropolitan Transportation Authority) was found to having a strategy against overtime cheats by making conductors and engineers scan a fingerprint to keep track of their work hours. Collection of fingerprints here can be interpreted as Surveillance: the biometric information of individuals was collected for watching the individuals’ activities without proper informing them about the means and purposes of the processing of this data. The company also did not collect proper consent from the individuals: employees who refuse to scan in and out by way of biometric time clocks could face discipline or lose their job, according to Association of Commuter Rail Employees. It is known, that before the introduction of the fingerprints collection strategy, employees had to check in and out with an company-issued swipe card and to sign in electronically. Either of those systems could be used to determine if an employee was cheating the system. The use of swipe cards or other electronic devices is less privacy violating, since such data can be changed or replaced if stolen or compromised, whereas fingerprints are unique, permanent biometric identifiers associated with each individual. However, the company nevertheless introduced the fingerprinting strategy.

Risk Statistics

Laws and Regulations