The Upek Eikon Digital Privacy Manager reader is a portable, digital fingerprint scanner that can be used for various security-related tasks on your computer.

'Passwords are a Pain', a slogan on Upek's website, is a sentiment that most people would agree with. Necessary, but awkward parts of our modern digital life.

An alternative way of identifying a unique user is the fingerprint scanner. Formerly the domain of science fiction, the means to securely and accurately identify an individual by their fingerprints on a PC is now upon us.

The Upek Eikon Digital Privacy Manager reader itself is a neat tabletop widget little bigger than a pack of chewing gum, with a shallow curve along which you can run the underside of your fingertip. Once the software is installed, the enrollment process asks you to register one or more fingers, a process that asks for each finger to be recorded three times for consistency.

The Upek Eikon Digital Privacy Manager reader can be used for various security-related tasks on your computer. The most obvious is to log on to your account, and a single successful swipe at the login screen is greeted by the normal entry to your PC.

On the Windows version of the Upek Eikon Digital Privacy Manager, additional features include the ability to decrypt files or folders with your fingerprint. When setting up this feature, as with other locking processes, the user is given the failsafe option of a text password, in the event of losing the USB scanner - or worse still, fingers. Without this insurance, encrypted data could be lost forever.

The Mac version of the Upek Eikon Digital Privacy Manager is not as feature rich but works remarkably well - and consistently. At a login screen which expects the user name and password to be entered, a sole finger swipe from an enrolled user automatically identifies and logs that person in.

Crucially, the Upek Eikon Digital Privacy Manager worked every time, where the Windows software ocassionally complained, for example, that the USB reader was not attached.

Allaying fears of biometric data held by the Upek Eikon Digital Privacy Manager scanner or its software being extracted and abused, Upek tells us that no actual fingerprint image is recorded; only a template derived from a print's details.

In an age where authorities are increasingly storing our biometric data, sometimes with uncertain intent, it's good to have a system which can work for us to secure our PC.

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Upek Eikon Digital Privacy Manager: Specs

  • Windows 98/2000/XP/Server2003/Vista (inc 64-bit Vista) and Mac OS X 10.4 or later
  • CMOS active capacitive pixel-sensing technology
  • 508dpi
  • 8-bit grayscale image depth
  • 10 million swipes life
  • USB 1.1
  • active sensing area: 12.4x0.2mm
  • device size: 84x33.8x14.3mm
  • Windows 98/2000/XP/Server2003/Vista (inc 64-bit Vista) and Mac OS X 10.4 or later
  • CMOS active capacitive pixel-sensing technology
  • 508dpi
  • 8-bit grayscale image depth
  • 10 million swipes life
  • USB 1.1
  • active sensing area: 12.4x0.2mm
  • device size: 84x33.8x14.3mm

OUR VERDICT

A potentially very useful addition to a home or business computer, the Eikon Digital Privacy Manager speeds up login and password management, with more than a dash of futuristic widgetry.

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