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Security Hardware

Hardware That Recognizes You 472

Amit Upadhyay writes "Gizmodo is reporting about extra funding for smart guns at NJIT. Few have qualms about it, mostly on the line of: would optical sensor for finger prints work when the hand is soaked with blood? Would you get time to enter the override code in an emergency? But if we remove speculative emergency situations, the technology seems to be interesting. While checking out Fingkey Hamster what struck me was, this is one passkey I will not mind publishing on my webpage, and it can't be cracked, unless hardware tampering takes place. Kind of thing that you can put in all the car ignitions and lockers where password entry using keyboard can become too obtrusive."
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Hardware That Recognizes You

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  • by Control Group ( 105494 ) * on Friday November 05, 2004 @10:57AM (#10734054) Homepage
    The problem with biometric security is always the same: once it's hacked, you're Screwed(tm) (that's a security-industry technical term).

    Given that nothing is unbreakable/unhackable/unspoofable, the real danger is putting into widespread use something that people believe to be unbreakable/unhackable/unspoofable. When you go to court because your gun was used in a shooting, everyone will "know" that you did it, since "no one else can fire the gun." Except we all know that no system is perfect, and someone else could have.

    Just as bad is the case of identity theft; the more that biometrics become used to verify identity, the more vulnerable you are to having your identity easily stolen. After all, it's perfectly reliable, so there don't need to be any other checks. The fingerprint/retina scan/brainwave pattern says the person is you, therefore s/he is. Even worse, once your identity has been suborned in this fashion, you can't get it back, since you can't change it.

    You can potentially address this by adding something like a PIN or password into the system, but that loses both the supposed benefits of the biometric identification and simply shifts the burden of security back where it's always been: remembering a unique piece of information that no one else has.

  • Gun emergencies? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Esteanil ( 710082 ) * on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:01AM (#10734092) Homepage Journal
    "But if we remove speculative emergency situations, the technology seems to be interesting."

    And as we all know, guns are never used in emergencies...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:02AM (#10734095)
    This desire is only coming from those that believe American violence is caused by inherently evil objects: namely guns. This will do NOTHING to stop gun violence, but will make it less likely that a person could use these objects to defend themselves.
  • by 3770 ( 560838 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:03AM (#10734101) Homepage
    So lets say that the police force is equipped with this.

    Now, what if you and your partner is fighting a bad guy. Your partner gets gunned down and you are out of bullets and reach for his gun to return fire.

    You don't want to spend time having to get his magazine out and put it in your gun. You want to reach down and use it.

    So, ideally, all police guns should be able to recognize all officers in the same precinct or something like that.

    Is that feasible with todays technology?
  • In Soviet Russia (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RangerRick98 ( 817838 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:04AM (#10734110) Journal
    In Soviet Russia, this joke will be WAY too overused for this article.
  • by FrenZon ( 65408 ) * on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:04AM (#10734117) Homepage
    ... is one passkey I will not mind publishing on my webpage ...

    So, you wouldn't mind putting an image of your fingerprint on a webpage, where it can be downloaded and printed in gelatin, and then used to unlock all of your devices forever, thus excluding you from ever using fingerprint based security?

    Which, as another poster suggested, raises the great problem with a lot of biometric security - as soon as it's defeated - someone taking a gelatin mold of your fingerprint, someone making a nice glass replica of your eye (for example), you're doomed - EVERYTHING you access then becomes invalid. Sure, you can just use your remaining eye, or fingers, but those are a finite resource .. it's like putting all your eyes in one squishy basket

  • Yep. I'm sure there will be pleanty of illegal guns all over the streets of NJ... just as there are today. All this shit they do to with LAWS is meaningless unless CRIMINALS all decide to OBEY the LAW and ONLY use APPROVED guns to commit CRIMES.

    "Oh Fuck, I have to reboot my gun before I can defend myself!"

  • What if... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rubberbando ( 784342 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:08AM (#10734154)
    What if this is combined with RFID tags under a persons skin so that only 'authorized' people may use guns? If the people wish to revolt, a government could just send out a signal to take away any non-military personell's authorization to use guns and stop them in their tracks.
  • Re:Bogus. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by julesh ( 229690 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:10AM (#10734178)
    As the only security model they don't make sense.

    As an additional one that doesn't replace any other, and which everyone is made aware they shouldn't depend on, I don't see a problem.

    Other than that "emergency situation" thing, which we're supposed to be ignoring, but which is actually kind of serious.
  • by sudnshok ( 136477 ) * on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:12AM (#10734201)
    The article said it can be programmed to recognize multiple users. So, I am assuming all members of the police force would be made users of all guns owned by the department.

    And by the way... in NJ, the first state with an idiotic smart gun law, federal, state and local law enforcement officers and members of the armed forces and the National Guard serving in New Jersey are exempt from the law.

    Funny, the technology isn't reliable enough for them to use, but it is for me. Nice!

    Here's a good article on why this NJ law is ridiculous [popularmechanics.com]
  • by jstave ( 734089 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:13AM (#10734206)
    But if we remove speculative emergency situations, the technology seems to be interesting.

    Given that this is for smart guns, I'm a little concerned with what appears to be the suggestion that emergency situations are rare and not worth much consideration. With the exception of practice on the firing range, all situations a handgun is being used are emergency situations. As such, something like the technology not working if the users hand has blood (or grease or dirt...) on it is a show-stopper.

  • by DZign ( 200479 ) <averhe@NoSPam.gmail.com> on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:15AM (#10734220) Homepage
    I have no idea if this can be implemented or not.

    Anyway, the main reason why this idea gets so much attention to become implemented, is that statistically a lot of police officers get killed with their own gun.

    So someone thinks:
    disable cop gun for anyone else => no more cops get shot

    Stupid logic which will not work, but the weapon industry and their sales people have seen a new opportunity to sell a lot of guns to police forces over the whole world.

    It only takes a little logic to consider that the first real problem is that cops should learn not to let anyone grab their weapon..
    if they surrender their weapon to someone, it's probably because they are already under gunpoint..
    and these bad guys prefer to kill the cops with their own guns as not to leave a trace.
    Disabling cop guns may prevent a few rare kills but will probably not make a huge difference.. cops will still be killed, but there will be a trace of another gun so the detectives can do some research later.. (not that they probably will ever find this gun, as it'll be resold or thrown away).

    So behind all this is just some marketing by gun-companies..

    It can even get worse, I believe there are even prototype guns which don't shoot if they're pointed in the direction of the owners (he has a sort of transmitter in his pocked), so what will happen if the 'bad guys' can crack this code ? Robbers which become invulnarable because police guns don't want to shoot them..
  • by xThinkx ( 680615 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:15AM (#10734222) Homepage
    I own a gun for one reason, in case some one threatens my life or property in my home. As such, I'm really not worried about my gun being hacked, I doubt the burglar/vandal/rapist would think ahead to break in a night or two in advance and hack my gun.
  • Guns have to work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nels_tomlinson ( 106413 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:18AM (#10734259) Homepage
    Guns have to work, always. If you can't trust your gun to work, you might be better off without it.

    Electronics just aren't reliable enough to trust, particularly fancy finger-print-reading or AI-grip-recognizing electronics.

    Technological fixes to social problems are usually bad ideas, and I think that this is a great example of that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:19AM (#10734268)
    That isn't the issue. The issue is the burglar that came while you were out so you didn't catch him, but he stole the gun. Then he hacked the code and murdered someone. The gun is registered to you and 'only you can fire it', so you MUST have murdered this person you've never met, right?
  • Bad, bad idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:22AM (#10734293)
    No serious gun owner would want this. No police officer would ever use this. When you need your gun to fire, it has to work. There's no room for error.

    A lot of serious gun owners won't even use handguns with a safety. Because if the safety is on in the fraction of a second you it to work, you're dead.
  • by merphle ( 744723 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:22AM (#10734295)
    You can potentially address this by adding something like a PIN or password into the system, but that loses both the supposed benefits of the biometric identification and simply shifts the burden of security back where it's always been: remembering a unique piece of information that no one else has.
    There are three forms of authentication.
    • Something you have (ID card)
    • Something you know (PIN)
    • Something you are (Fingerprint)
    From what I've read (Google the above terms, plus "authentication"), most people consider authentication based on any one of those insufficient. Authentication based on two of the above is generally sufficient, and based on all three is ideal.
  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:38AM (#10734417) Journal
    All this shit they do to with LAWS is meaningless unless CRIMINALS all decide to OBEY the LAW and ONLY use APPROVED guns to commit CRIMES.

    Indeed! As Thoreau said, "Laws never made man a whit more just, and by means of their respect for it, men are daily made the agents of injustice." Laws can only control the law-abiding, who don't need to be coerced to do good but do need to be coerced to do harm. Therefore, the only real effect of law is to do harm.
  • by Tassach ( 137772 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:41AM (#10734436)
    Guns don't kill people, people *with* guns kill people
    • People with knives kill people
    • People with bows kill people
    • People with fists kill people
    • People with baseball bats kill people
    • People with plastic bags kill people
    • People with rocks and pointy sticks kill people

    So what's your point?

    <kneejerk type=bleeding-heart-liberal>We need better rock and pointy stick control laws! Think of the children!</kneejerk>

    The ONLY dangerous weapon is a person intent on doing harm. ANYTHING can be a weapon in the hands of someone who wants to harm you. The advantage to a gun is it gives a 98 pound woman the ability to defend herself against a 250 pound attacker.

    Without guns, people who are small, weak, or passive are totally at the mercy of those who are larger, stronger, and more agressive then they are. As long as there are people who are willing to kill you to take your possessions or to satisfy their sexual urges on you against your will, you need some effective means of defending yourself against them.

    I keep a pair of trainers for self defense. When threated I am able to use them to run away
    That's fine for you. Now suppose you are responsible for several small children. What do you do now, genius?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:45AM (#10734484)
    Most people with, say, a concealed-carry license are much more responsible than your friend. I took the course, and one thing they drummed into us is that when you have a gun, the law holds you to a high standard. In my state, you also have a duty to retreat if at all possible. You also can't claim self-defense if you provoked the fight in the first place.

    Visit a gun show sometime, and you will find a very polite group of people.

    Making it difficult to shoot a gun nullifies its value for most situations where you need it. You won't find cops going along with that approach. You could say that cops face danger more often...but it's not exactly unusual for civilians to be victims of violent crime. It's also not unusual for them to successfully use firearms to defend their lives.

    As for the "dangerous situations"...well, personally, my guns stay at home, but there's another way to put that: people who carry guns don't need to fear nighttime parking lots and entire areas of town. I'm not so sure that's a bad thing.
  • by Glock27 ( 446276 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:51AM (#10734525)
    From the Wired article:
    The chip needs no battery or power source. It works much like those that have been implanted in pets over the past decade so they can be identified if they get lost.

    First off (for the rare individuals that didn't read the article) this approach DOES involve planting an RFID chip in the shooter. I somehow think this won't fly with most gun owners! (It also doesn't address shooting with the "off" hand.)

    Secondly, the above quote incorrectly implies that the "smart gun" won't need a battery. It will need one, both to detect the RFID tag and to mechanically inhibit firing the gun.

    It's bad technology. Guns should be as simple as possible, for reliability. Laser sights are bad enough - and not widely used for many reasons, dead batteries among them.

    They do look cool in movies though... ;-)

  • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) * on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:59AM (#10734595)
    You and I must watch a different 'Cops', I guess. When I tune in, I see the men in blue frequently get involved in physical tussles and rolling around on the ground trying to get a perp pinned down.

    And you are claiming that the most common scenario is a perp makes an officer hand over his gun and kills him execution style? If you don't see how somebody would grab the gun from an officers holster or wrestle it from his hands then use it against him, I don't think you're looking very hard.

    Given that cops have the most experience in the field, this is something I'd prefer to get their input on. And despite being a Democrat, I am not a strict gun control person - I don't think we all should have registered smart guns. I think the real issue here is that the hard core NRA member types don't want to see this tech ever hit manufacturing because they are afraid it will be forced on them. I don't really want to see it forced on them, I don't think forcing "secure" access on your own personal property, for guns, or computers, is appropriate (see Slashtrolls, I'm being consistent in my views!) - this isn't really a valid argument though, since the tech already exists, it's really a question of whether the tech works well enough and whether you can get over cops concerns about the 100% reliability issues.
  • Re:Bad, bad idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zak3056 ( 69287 ) * on Friday November 05, 2004 @12:04PM (#10734635) Journal
    No serious gun owner would want this. No police officer would ever use this. When you need your gun to fire, it has to work. There's no room for error.

    I agree completely. The story submitter obviously doesn't understand any of the issues involved, particularly due to his flip dismissals. "Few have qualms," and "figurative emergency situations," my ass. The only people that don't have qualms are those who are trying to push legislation requiring this, and frankly the WORST time for a firearm to have a problem is when you desperately need it! The idea that "it only won't work if you're covered in blood" is absurd on it's face--if I'm covered in blood, I probably have more need of a working gun that at any time in my life, which is quite possibly about to end.

    In short, this entire story should be modded, -1, Clueless.

    A lot of serious gun owners won't even use handguns with a safety. Because if the safety is on in the fraction of a second you it to work, you're dead.

    Now this, I disagree with. While I like my Glocks, particularly for the reason you describe (the KISS principle is in play here--the only thing you need remember to do is aim and pull the trigger) pistols like the 1911 are excellent defensive guns even though there are multiple external safety devices that need to be disengaged before firing.

    The key is, of course, training--anybody who knows how to use a 1911 will tell you that disengaging the safeties adds no time and minimal complexity. The grip safety is deactivated simply by grasping the weapon, and the thumb safety should come off as the weapon is being presented. By the time the gun is on target, it's in the same condition as a Glock would be.

    One need look no further than IPSC and IDPA competition shooting--sports that are all about speed, speed, speed--to reinforce this. 1911 based guns are the preferred choice of all the top competitors.

  • by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <chyeld@nOsPAM.gmail.com> on Friday November 05, 2004 @12:04PM (#10734636)
    News Flash! John Wayne is dead!

    Here is a reality check, without or without guns, people are going to be at the mercy of those who are more aggressive than them. Life isn't a movie, and you don't suddenly become an action hero by weilding a gun.

    And here's a tidbit of advice, if you are responsible for several small children, and think brandishing a gun around is going to protect them more than getting them out of the house and away from the danger, you shouldn't be responsible for any small children. Cause someday you are going to get one of them killed.

    You want to risk your own life playing Rambo@home, please by all means do it. It'll help thin the gene pool. But when it's someone elses life on the line it's arrogant and irresponsible to play those sort of games.

    Despite what the NRA and the producers of Law and Order want you to beleive, the world isn't full of violent pedophiles who want to kill you and rape your children. The common criminal wants only one thing, money. And he's more than happy to let you go if it means he doesn't have to deal with you while he's trying to turn your possessions into money.
  • by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <sd_resp2@earths[ ].co.uk ['hod' in gap]> on Friday November 05, 2004 @12:12PM (#10734710)
    Excuse me, but if someone is merely threatening your property, you have no business threatening their life.

    Life is more valuable than property. By a factor of infinity. There are no exceptions. Property can be replaced, living things can't.

    And yes, that does mean that the life of the scummiest sleazeball you can imagine is worth more than the Crown Jewels and the Windows Longhorn Source Code put together. But you'd better get used to it. Because if you can imagine a single case where a piece of property is worth more than a life, someone else can "rationalise" that there's a piece of property worth more than your life. That's a very slippery slope indeed .....
  • by wuice ( 71668 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @12:22PM (#10734777) Homepage
    "I'm petey the pistol! When you squeeze me, I make bad guys go away! I'm lonely.. will you hold me?"
  • by David_W ( 35680 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @12:28PM (#10734840)
    If you're already using #3, #1 becomes redundant.

    As the post above yours alluded to, what if #3 becomes compromised? #1 can be replaced, so although it may be redundant in the strictest sense, it is a necessary redundancy.

  • by B'Trey ( 111263 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @12:29PM (#10734859)
    Horsefeathers, poppycock and fiddlesticks. Claptrap, horse puckey and bullshit. If someone breaks into my house, I have no way of knowing whether he's merely threatening my property or is a threat to harm or kill me and my family as well. I have every right to assume that he's armed and dangerous, and will use a weapon if he perceives he's threatened. I'm goint to do my best to hit him before he know's he's been busted and to hit him hard enough that he can't hit back. If I have a gun to hand, I'm going to shoot and shoot to kill. If I don't have a gun to hand, I'm going to try to cave his head in with a baseball bat or whatever else I can find.

    Of course, a great deal of it depends on the situation. If I'm not sure that I can get the drop on him, then I'll reevaluate the situation and determine what to do next. If he realizes he's been spotted and is running away, your viewpoint has some merit. He's demonstrated that he's no threat to me or mine. But breaking into my house is a violent act. He initiated the use of violence. I'm not going to be the tiniest bit concerned for the value of his life so long as I feel he's a threat to me or my family, and I'm going to assume he's a threat until he proves otherwise.
  • by Laebshade ( 643478 ) <laebshade@gmail.com> on Friday November 05, 2004 @12:29PM (#10734861)
    The last thing I wanted to be is tagged like cattle.
  • by pete_norm ( 150498 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @12:30PM (#10734871)
    The real problem is that it's pretty hard to know the real intent of someone breaking in your house. Maybe he's not after your property after all, but it will be too late when you learn it.
  • by Tassach ( 137772 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @12:40PM (#10734959)
    Are you a parent?
    Do you own a gun?
    Have you ever been the victim of a violent crime?
    Judging from your rhetoric, I'd say the answer to all three is no. STFU until you know what you're talking about.

    OK Mr. Genius, here's a scenario for you: someone breaks into your house. They are downstairs, you are upstairs. How do you get yourself, your spouse, and two small children out of the house when the only way out is to go past the intruder? The answer is, you don't. You either call 911 and cower in a corner and pray that he doesn't hurt you or your kids before the police get there, or you take direct action and neutralize the threat.

    Is this a likely scenario? No. But it's possible, as are many others which would require the use of deadly force. Having a gun no more makes you rambo@home than having a fire extinguisher makes you fireman@home. Both are tools for dealing with a specific kind of emergency. If you're smart you hope you never have to use either one.

  • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @12:41PM (#10734963) Homepage Journal
    Yes! We can then eventually use this technology for rocognizing everyone, particularly for financial transactions (buying and selling). Just think how hard it would be to give bribes or conduct illicit trade.

    I, for one, welcome our new antichrist overlord(s).
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @12:49PM (#10735034)

    Guns don't kill people, people *with* guns kill people
    Maybe so but they make people pretty damned effective at it. As for the other choices, well, they are pretty poor

    Take a look at the statistics for assault in great britain. Guns simply shift power. Instead of the biggest, strongest, most aggressive, longest armed person, survival goes to the fastest, most accurate, most cool-headed person.

    As to your other points, knives are often the choice of a professional killer because they are quiet, concealable, and frightening. Bows can be fired bloody fast and guns require just as much skill to hit anything. Fists and bricks and chairs and everything else can be used to kill people, and often are. Why don't you look to why people are killing each other rather than what they are using?

    California recently banned .50 caliber breech loading rifles. These rifles are very high power, long range, and effective. This will stop exactly zero crimes. Why? Because this type of gun has never been used in a violent crime in the U.S. The only crime it has been used in was vandalism (shooting signs). The reason for this is simple, people who own guns costing more than a thousand dollars, don't generally commit violent crimes. That is because violent crime is usually committed out of desperation by poor, angry, young people (usually men). I'm not stereotyping, those are the recorded statistics. Passing more laws that say people can't use things/have things/do things that enable them to break other laws don't work. If they are already desperate enough to break the law, they won't care if they are breaking two or three or four laws. That is just paperwork on how long the police can lock them up. These laws do, however, take rights away from non-criminals, important rights, like the ability to defend oneself.

  • by stanmann ( 602645 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @12:54PM (#10735089) Journal
    If I am responsible for the safety of small children or my wife I'm not going to be brandishing a weapon, I'm going to be using it, and its not relevant whether it is my fist, a pen(cil), a kitchen knive, a paper weight or a gun. It's not going to be me or you its going to be you and if you're really lucky you might get me too. But have no doubt it's GOING to be you.
  • Re:Ring lock (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday November 05, 2004 @01:00PM (#10735150) Homepage Journal

    I really hate this argument. Why? Because it assumes that I am a fucking idiot. More people are killed with their own guns because they are too fucking stupid to handle it properly. I've been around guns for most of my life and I understand proper gun etiquette and safety (same thing, more or less) and I know how to work a safety, I understand the idea behind gun safes and trigger locks... And I'm not an abusive man so I don't fear being shot by my girlfriend or something.

    By saying that far more care needs to be taken, you are ruining your own argument. If people took more care, they would not be getting shot with their own gun. If I take more care than the average person (I do) I will not likely be shot with my own gun. The problem with gathering statistics which reflect this reality is that the people who have been shot are either dead, or generally unwilling to say "yes, I am a fucking idiot who did not properly manage my firearm".

    If an idiot keeps a gun in their home it is more likely that someone will die accidentally than they will be able to use it to defend their home. If an intelligent and concientious person does so, the opposite is likely true.

  • by squisher ( 212661 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @01:01PM (#10735162)
    Your argument is flawed in several ways:
    As several other replies have already pointed out, it is a lot easier with guns to kill, you can kill from a distance and this reduces the consequence you feel as a person of the result of the action.
    • The ONLY dangerous weapon is a person intent on doing harm. ANYTHING can be a weapon in the hands of someone who wants to harm you.

    While what you are saying is true, you forget that in most cases, it is not possible to know when someone simply intends to kill. However, when they have a gun available, they are able to do so more easily, as pointed out above.

    • We need better rock and pointy stick control laws! Think of the children!

    This is also a result of your faulty argument. All the examples of "killing instruments" you gave either occur in nature (rocks, fists, pointy sticks) and because of that can hardly be controlled, are used for other purposes besides killing (knives, baseball bats and plastic bags) or require significantly more training than guns to kill (bows). So, your mock argument to have pointy stick control laws does not make any sense at all. However, gun control laws do make sense, because with a pointy stick you cannot drive by a group of people and massacre them in an instant or have these nice school shootings that I'm sure you heard about.

    • The advantage to a gun is it gives a 98 pound woman the ability to defend herself against a 250 pound attacker.

    Yes, this is true. That why it is called "Gun Control" and not "Outlawing of guns". If a physically weak woman wants to buy a gun, and has no record of criminal activity, then she will still be able to despite the gun laws you seem to not like.
      • I keep a pair of trainers for self defense. When threated I am able to use them to run away

      That's fine for you. Now suppose you are responsible for several small children. What do you do now, genius?

    I'm sorry but the scenario that you are providing there is not very probable. How often will you be in a situation where you children are threatened by an attacker? I'm pretty sure most thieves and burglars couldn't care less about small children, as it doesn't buy them anything to hurt them. And, as also another reply has posted out, always keeping a gun around for the possibility that a mad-man will come by and attack you and the small children, is a lot less likely than that one of the children hurt themselves with the gun. I don't have statistics for that at hand, but if you use some common sense (gun is always there, madman is not, maybe never will be), you should be able to agree with this.
  • by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <chyeld@nOsPAM.gmail.com> on Friday November 05, 2004 @01:01PM (#10735165)
    "You either call 911 and cower in a corner and pray that he doesn't hurt you or your kids before the police get there, or you take direct action and neutralize the threat."

    Or, you go down with your gun, get killed and alert the 'threat' to your family being in the house. Now, instead of 'neutralizing' them, they get to KILL you and your family.

    You are NOT an action hero. Is it really worth risking the lives of your family members so you can get an adrenaline rush playing the fool?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2004 @01:10PM (#10735258)
    See, if it's illegal to own a gun, it's also illegal to have gun shops, gunsmiths, ammunition etc. If none of this stuff is in general circulation, it becomes harder for criminals to obtain guns

    Right- that worked SOOO well for drugs:

    See, if it's illegal to own cocaine, it's also illegal to have drug mules, drug dealers, crack houses etc. If none of this stuff is in general circulation, it becomes harder for criminals to obtain Cocaine.

  • by TheMeuge ( 645043 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @01:18PM (#10735330)
    Life is more valuable than property. By a factor of infinity. There are no exceptions.


    I'm not even going to try and explain that you DON'T KNOW who's going to rape and murder vs. who's going to take my DVD-player. For me it's a lot simpler than that.

    I think back to caveman times. Another guy comes into my cave without asking my permission I crack his skull with a large club. Now he should be thankful that I won't have him for dinner afterwards.

    Since I will NOT always have a clear route of escape for me/my friends/loved ones, I would never take a chance. I do not own a gun (although I will shortly) but even at this point I will use any weapon at my disposal to neutralize any possible threat.

    Just remember:
    "It's better to be judged by 12, than carried by 6"
  • by Twanfox ( 185252 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @01:32PM (#10735496)
    Consider your options in such a situation.

    1. Defend yourself (or attempt to)
    2. Flee (or attempt to)
    3. Do nothing

    In the first scenareo, hopefully if you are brave/stupid enough to go after someone that has broken into your home, you will have several things under your belt. Training, a moderate amount of skill with your chosen weapon. One thing you will have an advantage of is foreknowledge of the battleground (your house). The drawback is the person in your house may not be a burgler (mistakenly entered the wrong house, family member not expected home) and that you place yourself in danger. If you are incapable of moving silently through your house, or are inept enough to present more of a target than a burgler does, then this option is not for you. In order to truely defend yourself, possession of a gun alone will not do it. Possession of a gun, training, and an intent to defend yourself usually is.

    The second option still relies on your ability to move silently through the house. If the intruder in your home hears you, or your children, in order to gain the time necessary to make their escape safely, they will need to subdue you in some fashion. Generally, this does not involve killing, but there is no guarontee. It also depends on a valid escape plan, potentially similar to your fire escape routes (second floor units or ranch style homes would seek direct window access out rather than through the fire in the main portion of the house, where the burgler would be). Note here: YOU ARE STILL AT RISK. Detection can be fatal, and instead of seeking out the burgler, now he would seek you out.

    The third option is a valid one. However, it assumes that the burgler is not aware of your presence (expects noone home) or is not aware that he has been detected (expects you to be asleep). It assumes also that the burgler will not seek out bedroom locations for jewelry (valuable and easy to sell items for large cash sums), where they are typically housed. Depending on what you think your odds are of remaining undetected and the mindset of the burgler, this may be a valid option, though presents as much risk overall as any other.

    The risk of death and other dangers is already present when you have an intruder in your home. Only an assessment and assumptions about that intruder at that time can tell you which of the options poses the least risk. If you are unwilling to kill to defend yourself, that is when the first option (defense) is a far more lethal route for yourself and your family.
  • by WebCowboy ( 196209 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @01:38PM (#10735543)
    The technology is not quite mature enough to be practical or reliable for many uses. Even worse, the novelty of the idea means the technology is applied inappropriately.

    The article sumary makes this comment:

    Kind of thing that you can put in all the car ignitions and lockers where password entry using keyboard can become too obtrusive.

    These are exactly two places where present technololgy does NOT work well (or the stuff that works well is too expensive). The West Edmonton Mall is the worlds biggest, so as a convenience they have lockers for patrons to use as they shop. Additionally, there are lockers at the water park. The mall has recently started implementing biometrics for locker access, starting at the water park.

    Let me tell, you that was THE BIGGEST MISTAKE and waste of money they could've done. I'd rather have kept the keypad and used the cost savings to lower rates (a small locker costs $6 for a day). In the water park, you get wet. The fingerprint readers to not work on wet fingers. You also get cold, and the surface of your fingers gets wrinkly and shrink slightly. This also makes the reader inoperative. Half the time, you have to dry off and warm your hands thoroughly under the air dryer before you can open your damn locker. It took me 10 minutes of trying.

    Furthermore, the software is too primitive to allow multiple fingerprints to open a locker so if you share a locker to save money the person who opened the locker has to get everyone elses posessions. There is also the accessibility issue. I have a friend that has no hands due to birth defects. He could not use fingerprint biometrics and the reader is not designed to practically accommodate toe prints.

    The idea of using fingerprints on car ignitions at this point is also ill-advised at this point. The technology is either too picky to reliably read the scan, or too forgiving that it allows false reads. I forsee being locked out of my car during inclement weather. In April my fingers will be too wet during rainstorms to work, and in the winter they will be too cold. I get -30 degree temperatures in January where I live. I do NOT want to have to take off my mitts and fiddle with a thumbprint lock until I get frostbite, so I'm gonna need a key to get in the car. I might as well use that key to start the car too.

    It's the same thing with firearms and such. Even in non-emergency situations like hunting I'm sure the user doesn't want to futz around with some biometric safety lock scheme, and I'm even more sure they don't want to pay significantly more for the gun because of the added feature when a mechanical safety has sufficed until now. Also, the same problems apply--it could malfunction if our fingers are cold, wet or dirty which could likely happen.

    Technology for technology's sake is just silly. If it doesn't make something work better or cost less without affectig usability then it shouldn't be used. I do NOT need electronics in my toaster, my coat keeps me warm just fine without being "smart" and I'm not so brain dead I cannot remember the combination to my locker. Just leave it all be please.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2004 @01:44PM (#10735604)
    I'm always amazed that on a site like this, where people pride themselves on being smart, people can continually say things this stupid and continue to think violence is the answer.

    Police reports and studies say you will more likely be killed by your weapon than an intruder. The intruder is already more alert than you. There is no way you can get to him without him being made aware of you. He's already ready shown, by his actions (breaking in), he has no concern for you, and is much more likely to spray bullets in your direction even before you get off a shot.

    Oh, and if you are "brandishing a weapon", let's say a gun, how do you know you're shooting at an intruder instead of a family member? You either shoot first, assuming it is an intruder, and you might hit your son, who was sneaking around to finish a level on his video game, or looking for a snack, or you are lucky. On the other hand, if you take time to be sure you are attacking an intruder and NOT one of your family members, that's all the time he needs to drop you.

    You'll either shot instantly, and risk killing someone close to you, or that instant you take to be sure it's not a family member will be enough to make sure YOU are the one taken down.

    Police reports and studies also show a weapon in the house is more likely to be used in a domestic disturbance by one of your family to kill one of your family than that it will ever be used to defend yourself in case of a break in. I don't remember the numbers exactly, but iirc, once you start keeping a loaded gun (or one ready to be used at a moment's notice) in your house, the odds of it being used by one family member against another are actually HIGHER than the odds of your house being broken into while you're home.

    And moving on, you certainly have the determination and feel assured you'll be the one to kill. Are you really so unaware as to think that is assured? He's fighting for his life, too. While Americans love movies that imply that those that are defending their home fight better or are more likely to win, that is not true. You have just as much a chance, probably even more, of losing against someone who comes to your home prepared for the threat of facing danger than you do of "winning."

    I worked with people in the Department of Correctional Education. I know the kind of people that break in, the kind of people that kill, and the kind of people that have no regard for the law. I have little doubt that in a confrontation between such a person and anyone in their cozy house who has time and inclination to read /., the person NOT living in that cozy life will be more prepared for the conflict and will be more likely to win. In such a case, speaking from the experience of knowing such people, I'd put my money on them EVERY time.

    You certainly must enjoy life, living in a fantasy world where facts don't concern you.
  • "Life is more valuable than property. By a factor of infinity. There are no exceptions."

    Your lawfully-gained property is one of the products of your life. For example, let's say a burglar is stealing your wife's $6,000 engagement ring. How much of your life did you spend earning the money for that ring? Maybe 300 hours? If someone came up to you on the sidewalk and tried to forceably inject you with a drug that you know would instantly shorten your lifespan by 300 hours, would you use a potentially lethal defense (like a gun) to stop that attack?

    Money is your irreplaceable life energy in a convenient, portable form. When someone steals your money, or something you bought with your money, they are stealing part of your life. I applaude your respect for human life, but don't you think that since people's property is bought with their lives, their right to defend their property should be given the same recognition as their right to defend their lives?

  • by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @02:40PM (#10736213) Homepage Journal
    In one sense you're right. None of my property is worth someone's life. My life is worth more than a burglar's life.

    If you break into my home, I will assume that you are armed and willing to do me harm. I will kill you if you invade my home. Not because I'm worried that you'll take my TV, (I have 3, I can buy another at any time), but because you are a threat to my safety.

  • Not here it isn't (Score:2, Insightful)

    by heybo ( 667563 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @02:45PM (#10736261) Homepage
    Life is more valuable than property. By a factor of infinity. There are no exceptions. Property can be replaced, living things can't.

    If your life is more valuable than my property the solution is simple DON'T break into my house.

    You come in here without knocking and you will die. People who wish me no harm knock at my door and are warmly greeted and INVITED in. Those who enter with a crow bar are warmly greeted with a .45 and will never here the shot that killed them.

    If you want someone to care about your life then so some respect, and respect is earned not given.

  • Re:Bad, bad idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pete-classic ( 75983 ) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Friday November 05, 2004 @02:52PM (#10736328) Homepage Journal
    Must be weird to live in a place where all the women are more physically imposing than any potential rapists.

    Oh, and I hope you never get tired of that monarchy. We needed all our guns to get that monkey off our back.


    PS: Please don't call us next time Germany gets up to its old tricks.

  • by Tassach ( 137772 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @03:07PM (#10736442)
    Well I certainly wouldn't idiotically whip out a gun and wave it in my attackers face
    The two rules of self-defense: 1 - Never draw a weapon unless you are prepared to use it.
    2 - Never use a weapon unless you are prepared to kill.

    This applies equally to a gun, a knife, or a club.

    For your enlightenment, you do not draw a weapon at all unless someone is ALREADY in mortal jeopardy. If the situation IS serious enough for you to consider the use of deadly force, it is probable that it is serious enough that you will have to take action within a second or two. "Stop or I'll shoot" is for cops and TV shows; a private citizen in a legitimate deadly-force situation does not have to issue a warning -- you're not trying to arrest the agressor, you're trying to protect a life WHICH IS *ALREADY* IN EMINANT DANGER. If drawing and aiming isn't enough of a warning for them to get a clue and IMMEDIATELY back down, then you shoot to kill.

    It should be noted that a weapon is never your first line of defense -- it's always an option of last resort. Your first line of defense is situational awareness: you pay attention to what's going on around you and identify potential threats, allowing you to avoid them if possible, and to give yourself that critical extra second or two of reaction time if you can't. If you've allowed yourself to be put in a situation where your only option is to use deadly force, you've already lost half the battle. To quote my old sensei, the only fight you truly win is the one you avoid. Unfortunatly you can't avoid every fight, so a wise man is prepared for that eventuality.

    Owning a gun (or any weapon, for that matter) is a serious responsibility. If you don't want to (or can't handle) that responsibility, by all means do the world a favor and remain unarmed and rely on someone else to protect you. If you REALLY feel so strongly that guns are bad, I suggest putting a big sign on your front lawn that proudly proclaims "This is a Gun-Free Home".

    As to your half-remembered statistics, look into the (flawed) methodology of the anti-gun "research". Every such study I know of has been discredited due to faulty methodology or fabricated data.

    The simple fact is that most gun homicides are one criminal killing another criminal over some crime-related disagreement. The real statictic is that if you are an inner-city male involved in the drug trade (either as a customer or dealer), you are a lot more likely to get shot than someone who isn't.

    Drug dealers tend to carry guns. Drug dealers also tend to shoot each other. Connect the dots. Who's at a greater risk of getting shot: an armed soccer mom or an unarmed drug dealer?

  • by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <tms AT infamous DOT net> on Friday November 05, 2004 @03:09PM (#10736455) Homepage
    There are three forms of authentication.
    • Something you have (ID card)
    • Something you know (PIN)
    • Something you are (Fingerprint)

    This is a classic list. It's also wrong. A biometric device does not check "something you are". It checks "something you have". You have something that triggers the fingerprint reader - this can be your finger or a fake one.

    Every biometric form of authentication is really a token-based system. The original token happens to be made out of meat and securely attached to the user, but still suffers the weaknesses of other token-based systems - it can be lost or stolen (much more traumatically than other tokens) or counterfeited.

    Biometrics ain't worth the hype.

The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side. -- James Baldwin