Thursday, December 06, 2007

Faking Fingerprints

I’m rather pleased about Labour’s ongoing funding scandal; at least that distracts the government from its all-out misbegotten attempt to destroy our civil rights in the name of ‘security’.

Of course, they also had the recent scandal about half the Nation’s personal info going missing in the post on a couple of unencrypted compact discs – hopefully this will make ID cards harder to introduce. But the government is taking the stance that ‘biometric data’ will make ID cards more secure.

Ha. More people should be aware of Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science column about Biometrics in The Guardian (24th November. Ben Goldacre's Bad Science blog here)

Crucial quote: “every time you touch something, if your security systems rely on biometric ID, then you’re essentially leaving your pin number on a post-it note.

…In fact you might sense that the whole field of biometrics is rather like medical quackery: as usual, on the one hand we have snake oil salesmen promising the earth, and on the other a bunch of humanities graduates who don’t understand technology, science or even human behaviour. Buying it. Bigging it up. Thinking it’s a magic wand”.

Ben points out, frightingly, it has already proven easy and cheap to fake a fingerprint either from the original finger, lifting a fingerprint from a glass surface, or reconstructing a fingerprint from digital data alone (ie the way fingerprints will be stored on the ID card). The faked finger thus produced fools scanners 80% of the time.

Hooray for our Brave New World.

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