Biometrics - US up for it???
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Thread: Biometrics - US up for it???

  1. #1
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    Biometrics - US up for it???

    According to an article on http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/55/28782.html
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    "56 per cent to 91 per cent quizzed in the study say it is acceptable for the private sector to request a biometric scan (using, for example, fingerprint recognition technology) when:

    - Checking the identity of an individual buying a gun against a database of convicted felons (91 per cent);
    - Verifying the identity of those making credit card purchases (85 per cent); Withdrawing funds from an ATM (78 per cent) ;
    - Accessing sensitive files, such as medical or financial records (77 per cent);
    - Conducting background checks (76 per cent);
    - Screening out those banned from gambling or professional card counters in casinos (56 per cent)"
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    The report this comes from shows that these people have little experience with biometrics. How I've been away from this area for 18 months, but my experience was that most of the time, the technology failed too often for it to be effective, users were slightly unnerved by it and most companies balked at initial costs.....has this changed? Or are we willing to lower our standards now to make law enforcement easier?
    668 - the neighbor of the beast

  2. #2
    AO Curmudgeon rcgreen's Avatar
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    Hey, we've been using biometrics all along. We just didn't know it.
    When you recognize family and friends by their appearance and voice,
    that's biometrics.

    Whether computers can recognize people better than we can, that's
    what the debate is. If you get accused of a crime, who do you
    want testifying against you in court, a human being, with his emotions
    and prejudices, or a computer, with its (possibly buggy) algorithms?

    It will be the subject of a lot of good sci fi spy movies, eh?
    I came in to the world with nothing. I still have most of it.

  3. #3
    I think that in the long run, computerized biometrics, atleast until improvements are made, will not be widely accepted in courts. The margin of error is too great, even at .01% (or whatever it is) and will be, eventually, thrown out. The same reason that polygraph tests are no longer submissable in courts. (Although training to go against such things no longer works.)

    The other problem is this: Biometrics can always be reversed. For voices and other things, if it can be checked, it can be created, and it may be harder for the machine to tell the difference, when brought out of context.

    Just my $.02

  4. #4
    AO übergeek phishphreek's Avatar
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    Heh, biometrics...

    We got a fingerprint scanner just to try it out and see how well it worked.
    I don't remember the make and model right now... my boss bought it.
    (If you want to know, PM me, and I'll find out.)

    I rememberd reading up on how to bypass biometrics, so we tested it.

    Well, when somone puts their finger on the scanner, their print is still there. So, all you'd have to do is take like a gummyfish and press it against it. The scanner won't know the difference as the print is still on the pad and it doesn't see any new prints there. Just the pressure from the candy. It didn't work all the time, but we got it to work a couple times.

    That was a pretty cool experiment.

    So... I guess I don't have to tell you. We don't use those things. I wouldn't trust em just yet. There is much work to do still to improve them. I would never rely solely on just one type of technology to identify someone anyway. A password and the scanner maybe, or a token and the scanner.. but not just a scanner.
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  5. #5
    ::Smiles:: Fingerprints are also not allowed in courts, for much the same reason. I think that true biometric security will come with voice and retina scans, however voices can be recorded and altered, where-as retina's are very hard to change or fake.

  6. #6
    Antionline's Security Dude instronics's Avatar
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    During on of my security seminars we actually went into a bit of detail on biometrics and security. The new modern fingerprint scanners cannot be fooled easily by pressing something else ontop of the last print. The new fingerprint scanners also look for temperature, moisture, a pulse, aswell as the fingerprint pattern. Ofcourse do not mix this type of scanner with some cheap ones that you can buy for your computer keyboard. The real ones that have all these features can be very expensive. So if i cut off your fingers or hands, the scanner would not accept a print from that one, since there is a lack of temperature, moisture, and most important of all, a PULSE.

    Retina scanners also look for "signs of life" within the eye. So if i "scratched" out your eyeball with my little coffee spoon, the retina scanner would be able to detect that the eye in question is not valid. Fingerprint and retina scanners can be very accurate, and are quite safe.

    Voice scanners on the other hand, are not so good, due to the fact that they are too accurate. Let us say for example, if you have a cold, or are in a uhm.... weird mood, or are exhausted, or even after having sex....your voice changes (although the human ear cannot hear the difference), the scanner detects the difference and authorization will not be granted. Think of a horror scenario. By mistake you activated a nuke...to diactivate it you would have to say a certain word into a machine. Millions of lives depend on your voice at that moment, and worst of all, you know that. You will never get your voice the way it is supposed to be in order for the scanner to authorize you to abort it. That was indeed a very exagerated example but think about it.

    There are also other biometrical scanners, such as the bones inside your wrist, or other methods detectable by x-rays, but they cannot be accomplished due to the fact that some people have problems exposing their selves to these kind of scans (Pregnant women for example, or heart problems).

    Now to come to the issue of what is acceptable. It all depends on "do you have a choice?" If you want certain things or priveleges and the one offering them to you requires biometrics, then that is ok (as long as its no vital things). So if you want for example the nurse at the hospital to give you your medical record in exchange for a biometric scan, but you could get your records from your doctor yourself without the biometrics, then its ok. Aslong as there is a choice. When it comes to buying a weapon, then its ok to use biometrics, becuase i do not believe in the fact that someone "HAS" to buy a gun. If the ATM wants your fingerprints and you dont want biometrics, then go into the bank and wait your turn in the row at the counter.

    My point is that noone can force you to use biometrics for vital things. Biometrics is a form of comfort, or saving costs on human control. Its like a privelege. If you dont like biometrics, then dont use them.
    Ofcourse this whole concept changes if the gov would say every citizen has to implant something or you have to be scanned.

    And a biometric scan in a court room...hmm, thats a tough one. I believe that some form of biometric evidence is not such a bad idea. Althoug it could convict many innocent people. Thats something that has to be studied very carefully.

    Now i hope that some of you can make sense out of what i have written here, (im confused when i look over it in a sense)

    Cheers.
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  7. #7
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    I'm inclined to think that biometrics won't work simply because of the changing nature of human physiology. But more than that, here's my theory:

    Biometrics is based on the uniqueness of each person, that we can identify at least one thing about each human being which is individual. This assumes no cloning of course.

    So let's say for the sake of argument, we have a scan of our left index finger and that's unique. Let's also assume that there is no way of using prostetics to mimic it.

    The passport office might say: "Okay, so all you need now for ID is that fingerprint" take the fingerprint of everyone in the country and collate them.

    A year passes and this works. So the tax office say: "Wow, we should get some of this" and they also take the same fingerprints and use them.

    Then the health service, the banks, the stores.....now you have a bunch of people who have your uniqueness on record. Which let's not forget is just a stream of information.

    Have you still got your uniqueness. Well no, because all these people have it. So you're no longer unique.

    QV biometrics is a short term solution which will be rendered impotent by it's own success (or as we say in England 'hoisted from your own petard'.

    Englishgirl1 (whose real name is Rachel)
    668 - the neighbor of the beast

  8. #8
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    now you have a bunch of people who have your uniqueness on record. Which let's not forget is just a stream of information.

    Have you still got your uniqueness. Well no, because all these people have it. So you're no longer unique.
    It is my observation, that unless they *actually have* your finger -- they do not have your uniqueness. What they have is a *copy* of your uniqueness.

    Anyway, to me, knowing the government and others have biometric information on me is over the line. Last time I renewed my license they required a fingerprint. I can't tell you how badly I wanted to get some coarse sand paper and sand all my fingerprints away.

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  9. #9
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    You are of course right, they don't own your finger but the value of it as a unique element is severely reduced. Picasso's wouldn't go for so much if he had a million copies lying around.

    In this country biometrics, in the form of facial recognition are routinely used in some shopping centres, which irritates me because I think its asking for abuse to collect this sort of data....and I don't buy the "but it deters criminals" argument either.

    Rachel
    668 - the neighbor of the beast

  10. #10
    AO Curmudgeon rcgreen's Avatar
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    If your biometric ID is just a stream of data, what is to keep someone from
    making a copy of it to impersonate you. Let's say you are a nuclear scientist
    and you have access to the computers with all the bomb secrets.

    The system asks you to put your fingerprint on the scanner, look into the camera
    or whatever. The impersonator puts in the disk with your data, feeds it to
    the screening program, and gains access.
    I came in to the world with nothing. I still have most of it.

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