GameStop Now Fingerprinting People Trading in Games in Philadelphia to Help Fight Crime

Retailer now requiring people who trade in games to provide a fingerprint scan as a means to assist local law enforcement.

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[UPDATE] GameStop has issued a statement on the matter, saying the initiative was implemented at the request of local authorities and has been in place since the beginning of July.

"It's a process that we've recently implemented (starting in early July) in Philadelphia area stores at the request of the Philadelphia police department," the GameStop representative said. "[It] is a practice we've also put into place in other parts of the U.S., depending on local or statewide second-hand dealer or pawn broker laws. However, at this time we are reviewing the process to determine if it's one which should be continued in Philadelphia."

The original story is below.

Some GameStop stores in Philadelphia are now requiring that people who trade in games provide a fingerprint scan for "certain transactions," CBS Philadelphia reports today based on conversations with the retailer, local government, police, and shoppers.

According to GameStop, it is following a local law that says the retailer is allowed to collect thumbprints. These scans eventually make their way into a database that helps law enforcement nab thieves who seek to use GameStop as a pawn shop of sorts to unload their goods.

Philadelphia city solicitor Shelley Smith says that GameStop is not required to collect the thumbprints to abide by the city's pawnbroker order. "What GameStop does doesn't meet any of the elements of the definition in the code, so the pawnbreaker ordinance doesn't apply to GameStop," she said.

The Philadelphia Police Department, on the other hand, tells CBS Philadelphia that GameStop is being proactive by obtaining customer fingerprints and uploading them to a database known as LeadsOnline.

Still, GameStop shoppers outside of a store in Philadelphia's Center City district are not too pleased about the new policy. "I really don't appreciate it," one person said. "You fingerprinted me like I'm in a police district. No, I'm at a game store." Another shopper said, "I think it's an overreach. It's going too far."

GameStop's fingerprinting initiative is currently only underway in Philadelphia itself, but not the suburbs. We have reached out to GameStop for further clarification about this new policy for Philadelphia and will update this story with anything we hear back.

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