Losing a finger over biometrics


"They stripped Mr Kumaran naked and left him by the side of the road - but not before cutting off the end of his index finger with a machete. (from the BBC)"


There, I got your attention, didn't I? That's from the always fascinating monthly mailing on security, Crypto-Gram, from Bruce Schneier. He has a very interesting piece on "New Risks of Biometrics", where you can see the law of unintended consequences in full bloom:


"It's certainly possible to design fingerprint readers that test for "liveness": pulse, body temperature, etc. But these new security countermeasures will result in new criminal tactics, and the cycle will continue."


A similar scenario was used in the movie "Minority Report" which at the time might have seem outlandish, but now, I guess not so much. By the way, here's another bit of Minority report futurism is now creeping into reality:


"In the futuristic movie "Minority Report," Tom Cruise gestures with his gloved hands to sift through crime-clue data that are displayed on giant screens. With the twist of a wrist he can move information from one column to another or delete items." (from the Wall Street Journal)

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Posted on April 18, 2005 and filed under Life, Technology.