Windows XP on the police fingerprint scanner: What could possibly go wrong?

I couldn't resist taking a photo of this fingerprint scanner station while touring our suburban Boston police station during an open house. No really, I was there for an open house. And yes really, that's Windows XP running on the machine, which sits just outside the jail cells. (Note the artistic capturing of the handcuffs reflection in the monitor screen.)

XP fingerprint scanner

Now I realize the machine might very well be not connected to the Internet or any national or international fingerprint database. Sneakernet could be in effect here for transporting prints.

And I know it could be on its own VLAN and not linked to the nearby Windows 7 machine used for booking.

And as Joshua Bell commented on our Facebook page, where we sought photo captions for the above image, "At least it's not Vista."

But something just seemed a tad wrong or at least ironic about running this increasingly unsecure software within this lockdown facility. Not that retaining XP is a crime.

+ ALSO on Network World: The Last Place you want to see a Windows Error Message | The Ultimate Windows XP Quiz

And not that this police department doesn't have plenty of company in hanging onto at least some WinXP machines (See "Windows XP users widely ignore end-of-support warnings" and "China prefers to stick with dying Windows XP rather than upgrade").

But perhaps if I'm lucky the next time I tour the station, I'll find the XP machine in a slightly different location...

Jail cell
Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.
Must read: Hidden Cause of Slow Internet and how to fix it
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.