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GameStop requires fingerprint scans for game disc trade-ins

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Philadelphia resident? You might want to think twice about trading in that copy of Titanfall.

At the request of local police, several Philadelphia GameStop stores have implemented a new security measure. Anyone wishing to trade in a used video game at one of these stores is required to submit to a fingerprint scan.

The security measure has been in effect since the beginning of July 2014, and many patrons have expressed skepticism and resentment when their fingerprint is requested. The fingerprinting comes at the mandate of the GameStop corporate office, which received a request from Philadelphia's police department to implement stronger security measures. The method of using scans came from GameStop's headquarters, who found out that local laws allow retailers to collect fingerprints.

Why do the stores need stronger security? As it turns out, Philly's GameStop stores are legally classified as pawn shops. (There is some dispute over this.) Apparently having a trade-in program in a Philadelphia store means that you have to follow the same rules and regulations that pawn shops are subject to. This isn't unique to Philadelphia; GameStop stores in other parts of the United States are following similar kinds of rules.

The fingerprint scanning technique, however, is new. After scanning, the fingerprints are uploaded to Leads Online, the nation's largest database used by law enforcement investigators. The idea is that having customers' fingerprints on file will help police track criminals who use GameStop to unload goods. (You know, like they would in a pawn shop.) If you shop at one of these stores, you can no longer trade in your games unless you submit to a fingerprint scan.

Some are calling this security measure too severe. CBS Philadelphia asked customers outside a GameStop store about the new company policy, and their responses were less than thrilled. A sampling:

"I really don't appreciate it. You fingerprinted me like I'm in a police district. No, I'm at a game store."

"That is a little absurd, it's just a video game."

"I think it's an overreach. It's going too far."

"I know that it only happens to people who go to jail, they get fingerprinted."

It may not be popular among customers, but local police are said to be appreciative of GameStop's means of being "proactive" with its security.

Photo: Dwight Burdette 

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