An electronic access system is now operational at the Hawaii State Capitol that allows access to the building after-hours.

The system uses no keys or cards. Instead, it utilizes biometrics authentication: reading the veins or capillaries of the finger.

“Some of you have already enrolled and successfully used the system,” Senate President Donna Mercado Kim wrote in a Feb. 9 memo. “So far, the system appears to be working well, allowing authorized personnel entrance to the building after business hours.”


Flickr: Stefano Mortellaro

The memo says all Senate personnel are being offered the chance to register and enroll in the system, which is voluntary. A spokeswoman for the House of Representatives confirms that the same system applies to that chamber.

Some security details, according to the memo:

  • All personal information required to enroll in the system, including the capillary imprint, is “securely stored” on the Legislature’s computer servers.
  • The system enables registered users to access the building from the rotunda and basement levels anytime the building is closed to the public.
  • The system will not affect public hours of operation of the building; all public access will continue during the hours prescribed by the Department of Accounting and Government Services. 
  • In the event of “a dangerous situation” requiring a building lockdown, the Capitol sheriffs can immediately lock all access points.   

Access to the Capitol is still available through the main entrance when the building is closed to the public.

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