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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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  • Interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Guitar Wizard ( 775433 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:05AM (#10734126) Homepage Journal
    I have always thought that a large-scale fingerprinting implementation would be helpful for a lot of things -- just think about never having to carry a wallet again -- rather, you would simply scan your fingerprint for whatever business you were involved in (making a purchase, showing proof of ID, etc.). A system like that would be convenient, but it's also really centralized, so there would definately be a "big brother" out there watching us.

    As far as security goes, I would risk saying that is is much harder to dabble in fingerprinting than other forms of identity theft. If credit cards could be swiped and then authenticated with a fingerprint scan, I think we would have much less trouble with theft in that area as the technology to duplicate fingerprints doesn't seem to be widely available (how many people do you know who can do it?).

    Anyhow, that's just my two pennies. Just hope that someone doesn't cut off your fingertips at night!
  • Ring lock (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RandoX ( 828285 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:06AM (#10734134)
    Another interesting option for firearms is a ring lock []. It uses a magnetic ring to unlock the firearm, which keeps the weapon from being taken during a struggle and used against the owner. Since the decline in popularity in magnetic media, unpleasant side effects of wearing a magnetic ring seem to be less of an issue.

    Sounds like a great idea for cops, though.
  • by a_hofmann ( 253827 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:12AM (#10734196) Homepage
    The temptation is big: current technology will soon allow us to do any ID recognition by biometrics data with very cheap methods. This special application is just one of many examples where applying this technology would make sense.

    The thing I dislike about any biometrics solutions is that in order for them to work, they need a method of identifying you as a person, Being that fingerprint, iris recognition or facial properties.

    Thus every access to biometrically controlled systems allow a unique connection between your ID data and your person. This may be wanted in many situations, but with biometrics there just is no alternative to anonymity anymore.

    The widespread use of biometrics will inevitably lead to the "transparent citizen" as the option of anonymity will just fade away with the disappearance of alternative identification methods.
  • by Carik ( 205890 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:16AM (#10734226)
    Looking at the Fingkey Hamster website, I see that it supports "Various OS and USB interfaces." Interesting! Must work on lots of different platforms, then... Where's the list? Oh... I see. They meant lots of Windows operating systems; Win 95, 98, NT4.0, 2000, ME, and XP. And it supports USB 1.0 and 1.1. Well, that's a wide variety....

    Now then, what is this good for? Oh... "PC-infra security applications." PC-infra? What the heck is that? I would assume, based on the word-roots, that they mean security on one PC, but where did they come up with the word?

    Between those, and the name ("Fingkey Hamster"?! Are you serious?), I have to wonder if these people are legit. They CERTAINLY don't have a native English (or even American English -- yes, they are different) speaker writing their text, but did they have to get someone who didn't know the language?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:16AM (#10734232)
    I will _never_ buy one of these weapons. Also I will not support the company that makes these weapons.

    Just as I fight as hard as one person can for my electronic freedoms and my freedom to own a general purpose non-DRM'ed computer. I will fight extra hard to make sure I can still defend myself without having to prove to some device I am who I say I am.

    Just as DRM is a cancer on computing rights, these kinds of measures are a cancer on our guns rights.

    Remember, DRM and gun laws (read "safer gun") is about their control and their profit. Neither of which benefit you and me.

  • Re:Interesting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:17AM (#10734244) Homepage
    Problems with fingerprint scanners are legendary, especially when your fingerprint is so easy to collect, glasses, ATM's, a handshake. There was a study not long ago on Slashdot that showed that about 90% of fingerprint scanners can be fooled by things like gelatine.

    And you think the retailers would want to buy a big expensive foolproof machine for every shop in the world or just something cheap that can read a fingerprint?

    It was hard enough moving them over to what we in the UK call Chip-and-PIN where we've done away (or are going to do away) with signatures and use a four digit code. That's been years in the making and still not completely functional. I can still say "Oh, I haven't been sent a number for that card yet" and they let you sign for the transaction, much like previously.

    No, I still say the best system for things like credit cards etc. is to have some sort of graphical. When you swipe the card, the owners picture appears for verification (sent direct from the credit card company, maybe chosen from a few random photographs from different angles, clothing etc.) Much more big brother, I know.

    If the person in front of you does not look like the owner, you refuse the transaction. Put this on top of things like Chip-and-PIN and signatures and you've got it made. Only an CC company insider could realistically beat it and then they would be accountable (I would hope that every account created had a traceback history for which staff member created it, one that is unwriteable after creation.).

    If the retailer tries to run a stolen credit card through to make a few fake transactions, and presses Yes to ID the photo, there's always the Chip-and-PIN to fall back on that he must know. But it means you can't stroll in just any shop with a stolen credit card and take someone else's money.
  • by IWannaBeAnAC ( 653701 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:33AM (#10734376)
    Yep. In fact, in the Netherlands (for example), if you do anything other than stand back and watch as someone breaks in, you are more likely to be hauled off to jail than they are.

    Not coincidentally, and quite amazingly considering it is the second most populous country in the world (after Bangladesh), Holland has a very low rate of property crime (except for bicycles - but that is really a special case in Holland!), and violent property crime is almost unheard of. Well, at least that was my impression as a foreigner who lived there for 2 years.

  • by TheWanderingHermit ( 513872 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:36AM (#10734404)
    did we learn nothing from the Judge Dredd film


    1) Some of us (like film buffs) learned that it was pretty wretched and not nearly finely crafted enough, like, for example, 8 1/2, Rear Window, Fahrenheit 451, or 2001: ASO, to be called a film. It's more in the movie, or even down to the "flick" category.

    2) Some movies are better left unseen until they hit the dollar theatre or HBO.

    3) Putting a top draw star in a production does not mean it'll be worth watching.

    I'd say some of use learned a lot from "Judge Dredd". Oh -- and are you sure you shouldn't mention "Demolition Man", with reference to the seen where the Warden's eye was cut out and used to pass the biometric scan? Or "Red Dwarf" where Lister takes the hand that was blown off a person to use for the scan to open a secured door?
  • As DNA put it: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gidds ( 56397 ) <slashdot AT gidds DOT me DOT uk> on Friday November 05, 2004 @12:05PM (#10734640) Homepage
    (meaning the late and much-lamented Douglas Adams, not his or anyone else's deoxyribonucleic acid):
    "The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair."
    He was talking about devices such as air-conditioning systems, but I think the principle applies here just as much.
  • Re:Interesting (Score:2, Interesting)

    by thisfred ( 643716 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @12:14PM (#10734727) Homepage
    As far as security goes, I would risk saying that is is much harder to dabble in fingerprinting than other forms of identity theft. If credit cards could be swiped and then authenticated with a fingerprint scan, I think we would have much less trouble with theft in that area as the technology to duplicate fingerprints doesn't seem to be widely available (how many people do you know who can do it?).
    Guess again []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2004 @12:29PM (#10734856)
    Despite what Handgun Control, Inc. wants you to believe, many criminals value their own freedom over their victims' lives. As a result, they believe that murdering witnesses is a highly effective way of not getting caught.

    So, no, even a common criminal isn't 'more than happy' to let you go. Because he/she knows the first move you make is going to be calling 911 from a neighbor's house.

    Further, in many home situations, it would be near impossible to escape past the intruders. For example, multi-story houses present a challenge when the intruder(s) may be near the stairs.
  • by Ucklak ( 755284 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @12:40PM (#10734953)
    So if I get carjacked, I should just get out of my car and let them take it?

    If Joe Burglar breaks in my home and wants to take my jewelery and other valuables that are deemed valuable I should just throw out the welcome mat because he was able to break in?

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

    I think where we differ is that I feel that if Joe Burglar doesn't want to abide by societys rules, he should be removed from society, not given the welcome mat.

    Someone who breaks into my home IS a threat to me and my family and I will do whatever it takes to PREVENT that threat. Not react to whatever that threat decides to do.

    If that threat breaks the first barrier to me and my family, it is assumed that the threat is a danger and I will attack like a white blood cell.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2004 @12:47PM (#10735010)
    * People with knives kill people
    Only at a very close distance

    Hmm. Your house must be a LOT bigger than mine.

    * People with bows kill people
    Unlikely since you'd need some skill and practice and if you miss the first time, it's going to take a while to reload.

    Yes, bows take some skill and practice. But, I can fire my bow almost as fast as my pistol. And, when firing more than 7 shots, the bow averages at least as fast.

    * People with fists kill people
    Again, only at very close range (unless you happen to be a zombie and can throw your hand quite a distance)

    Once more, your house must be a whole lot bigger than mine.

    * People with baseball bats kill people
    Hmmm... bit hard to conceal... But maybe you have a sawn-off baseball bat?

    You do realize that the vast majority of violent crimes are commited with melee weapons, don't you? Most violent crimes are acts of rage. Rage tends to be up-close and personal. And, gun-grabbers usually cite home-intrusion and domestic violence as the cases where a gun puts you at greater risk. Seems to me that both of these occur in relatively tight spaces.

    But then, the fairly small spaces involved is why I usually reach for a sword, not a firearm when I hear a noise in the night. I know I am as deadly with the blade, and if I run-through an intruder, my attorney can play up my self-restraint in not using the readily available firearms.

  • Re:Bad, bad idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zak3056 ( 69287 ) * on Friday November 05, 2004 @12:59PM (#10735136) Journal
    What about all the other time. Do you want to have a gun that at any time can go off?

    Go to a gunstore. Buy any firearm you see, it doesn't matter which. Load the weapon, place it on a table, and take two steps back. I guarantee that the weapon will NEVER just "go off" without some sort of external act.

    Besides if I snuck up behind you and put one in your head, will you have any more time to react if you hadn't had the safety on?

    Ah, yes, "excellent" point. Just because there's a situation where someone is dead before they even know they're in danger that invalidates other points raised about how fractions of a second matter when your life is on the line. Quite a clever debater, you are.

  • by gandalf23atwork ( 604291 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @01:51PM (#10735705) Journal
    It can be done from a distance, and nearly instantaneously

    I think you're thinking of Quake2's Railgun :)

    I don't know about you, but it took me quite a bit of training with my rifle to get to the point where I could accurately put shots into a deer's killzone. Pistols take even more training, at least at anything beyond contact range.

    If the deer is moving, you do have to lead it, the bullet does not just magically appear in the deer the moment you shoot it (unlike the Railgun). You also have to account for wind.

    No consequence of action? Obviously you've never shot a living creature.

    The point is that with a gun, it is supremely EASY to kill someone.

    Nah. According to a Department of Justice report several years ago (IIRC, could've been DOD), using civilian data as far back as it was available, and using battlefield casualty data from the Civil War through the Vietnam War, you've got an 80% chance of surviving a gunshot wound. 80%! Seems to me that it's rather HARD to kill someone with a gun.


  • by mzs ( 595629 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @03:48PM (#10736857)
    That's fine for you. Now suppose you are responsible for several small children. What do you do now, genius?

    Thankfully a number of other posters have already expressed some valid argument against this. The whole genius bit justs makes me think this is a Troll we are feeding here, but whatever, personal experience makes me a good candidate to respond to this...

    My wife had a VERY scary experience, along the lines of to satisfy their sexual urges on you against your will only it was TWO men, in a dark elevator, with our infant son present. Now first, how would have this situation resolved itself in any positive manner had my wife been packing heat? Do you live is some TV fiction-land where you think my wife could have successfully defended herself in such a situation? You ARE a stupid dick, but I will go on anyway.

    Now this is what happened. In fact my wife kept a (relatively) cool head, and we believe that this was VERY important so that these piss-for-brains did not get-off on some power trip. In the end the fact that there were two men was what caused the situation to end better than it could have. Simply, one of the perpetrators had a conscience and basically said, "look man, there's a kid, let's leave, we've done enough, look at her."

    Now the serious gun angle to this story. This happened in the morning, it was not until the evening that my wife had gathered her senses enough to talk to the police. We were home waiting for hours, but she finally admitted that she had NOT called the police like she had said she had. All I can say is that until you have been through something like this you will never understand the logic, the level of humiliation is indescribable.

    When the police officer finally arrived in the evening, the emotions ran high, but in retrospect, with such a long delay and the fact that an actual rape, in a technical sense but the emotional effects on my wife's well being were disastrous, had not taken place led the police nowhere. Now understand how this only made the situation worse. It made it clear that the police, who we thought were there to protect us from 'bad people' were in fact only there as the law enforcement arm of the criminal justice system. They were not there to prevent us from being victims, but rather only there to catch the criminals when a serious enough crime had taken place to warrant their attention - which tearing of clothes, threatening rape, groping, and shoving of an immigrant woman clearly were not - ahem.

    I have experience with guns from my youth. (Very positive experiences shooting with my father's family on vacations and the Boy Scouts.) I felt it would be very good if my wife got a handgun and the training to learn how to use it. I saw it as an empowering thing, something that would help her get back a feeling of safety. Heck it would even alter dynamics of our relationship. But she is afraid of guns, largely having never grown-up around them. But she made a very good point. How could we keep a gun in our apartment if we had a child living with us?

    Seriously think back to when you were a teenager. Wasn't it difficult with all the changes? The statistics my wife and I have seen are horrendous for kids that kill themselves as part of teenage angst when there is a gun in the house. This cannot be seriously addressed, in the statistics we saw gun locks and lockers had little impact on those suicides. (They were much more effective for preventing accidents.)

    Now on the other hand, I plan on exposing my children to guns in the same way that I was when I was younger. I really believe that installing the proper respect is key for preventing kids from being involved in some tragic accident. Even though we will not have guns in our house, little Jimmy probably will figure-out where his dad hides his gun in the house and may want to show it one of our kids. It is very important to teach kids that guns are not toys.

    I still remember that evening with my scout troops when one o

  • by spirality ( 188417 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @04:23PM (#10737274) Homepage
    Couldn't have said it better myself.

    What does your argument say about legalizing drugs? I recall in the 1920s we had violent gangs too. Replace alcohol with drugs and we have today.

The other line moves faster.