Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy

You Are What You Click 102

Posted by michael
from the woof-woof dept.
Ksop writes: "Predictive Networks Inc. sells a product that can identify users by recognizing their input patterns. The way you use the mouse and keyboard may be used to track you. Story here. That scares me a little. But its also a cool idea."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

You Are What You Click

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you want keyboard typing biometrics, check out BioPassword [biopassword.com]'s technology.

    All this does is guess at who people might be based on broad, sweeping characterization of behavior. That's probably as accurat as guessing that someone who has a Meyers-Briggs 'Feeling' classification is female vs. a 'Thinking' person be a male. In fact, such a generalization will be right roughly 75% of the time--but that's hardly individual identification.

  • There are some fascinating potential developments that could come about. Evil to society, but still fascinating.

    For instance: schizophrenics track moving objects differently with their eyes. The eye makes many small overcorrections (James Gleik, 'Chaos'). Supposing other motor actions are affected- schizophrenics might use the mouse differently- in a way that can be distinguished.

    An insurance company could pay for this data in order to determine who not to sell insurance to. At some future time, this information could be mined to determine what people should be culled from society- or what people are within a certain statistical deviation of schizophrenia and therefore barred from public office.

  • Active Server Pages error '8002802b'

    Create object failed

    ?

    An error occurred while creating object 'UPSFactory'.

    --
    Joe Hamelin
  • Does the phrase "Microsoft Windows XP" mean anything to you ?

    Hiding any kind of marketing spyware in a product is bad PR when it is discovered. Microsoft isn't that stupid.

    Although, the whole "charging people once wasn't enough, let's charge them as many times as possible" thing does make me wonder about the collective intelligence over there at MSFT...

  • by Mihg (2381) on Friday May 25, 2001 @02:55PM (#197708)

    This is an interesting offshoot of general biometrics research.

    Fortunately, in order for it to work, the user needs to be running the tracking software on their computer. Most users will be leary of programs which spy on their input, so the probability of them installing the spyware is very small.

    However, there is the possibility that this could be snuck into programs that have other uses and spy on users without their knowledge. (Didn't Comet Cursor do this?) Of course someone will discover it eventually, publicize it, and then be sued by the company for violation of the DMCA. So we're all screwed.

    Welcome to the new dark ages. Have a nice day.

  • by ewhac (5844) on Friday May 25, 2001 @03:35PM (#197709) Homepage Journal

    gl_texturemode GL_LINEAR_MIPMAP_LINEAR;bind r gl_texturemode GL_LINEAR_MIPMAP_NEAREST;

    In case you're curious, that's the switch command necessary for the OpenGL wallhack that's freely available.

    How the heck is that supposed to work? gl_texturemode simply sets the mipmapping mode for textured polygons. Unless there's a universal bug in OpenGL implementations (seems unlikely to me), simply switching mipmapping modes isn't going to make polygons transparent or turn wireframe. At best, it'll increase your frame rate slightly, depending on your graphics card (GL_LINEAR_MIPMAP_NEAREST reads texels from only one mip level, which saves you a read cycle over GL_LINEAR_MIPMAP_LINEAR, which reads from two mip levels).

    What's really going on here?

    Schwab

  • so what if I type with my coffee in my hand one day, or my stylus from my palm, or I injure myself with a pair of scissors ? That means I am locked out :) I think you need to go back to the board and do some more work
  • via the banner. I have opened a new browser window and checked-out a site by manually typing in the URL as indicated in the banner properties, just before I add it to my webwasher block list :)
  • this is some of the stupidest generalizations I've ever heard of. I often think that the if the advertisers knew HOW USELESS TV ads are, say banner ads are MORE EFFECTIVE in my opinion, that the TV business model would fold. It is a good thing there is no way of telling how many people get up and eave the room as soon as a commerial comes on :)
  • Last time I checked, it appeared relatively certain that I was a man. And yet, I don't check scores (I pretty much don't like sports). In fact, I don't watch much TV at all. Sounds like they're just kind of going on stereotypes here--stereotypes that may not be all that reliable.
  • Predictive Networks Inc. sells a product that can identify users by recognizing their input patterns. The way you use the mouse and keyboard may be used to track you.
    Doesn't that ring a bell about a story published in OMNI some 12-16 years ago?

    A brash young programmer kid who thought that user=l03er got nailed when he fell into a honeypot and sold industrial secrets to some japanese company.

    The kid was identified by software developped by an "old geezer" who saw the human side of things; the software identified him by his typing timing pattern.

    Anyway, the honeypot gave him pr0n pictures (then, a novel concept) instead of the industrial secrets. When the japanese got wind of being shafted, they grabbed the kid and left him alone with a sumo wrestler...

    --

  • by joshv (13017) on Friday May 25, 2001 @02:43PM (#197715)
    Will they be able to tell I am typing with only one hand?

    -josh
  • this is tantamount to having a fingerprint scanner on my mouse. how do you get around something like this? program your force feedback mouse to randomly make you miss links and increasePredictive's signal to noise ratio?

    more and more, people seem to be opting-in for these huge privacy violations. like those special customer discount cards they give you at the supermarket -- hello! now they have a record of everything you buy attached to your name! it's worse than radioshack not letting you buy certain combinations of items because they think you're building a bomb or a red box. i say, any tracking that attaches behavior information to a profile of you, rather than just tracking aggregate information, can be exploited to seriously screw with your private life, and should be avoided.
  • The article clearly states that the technology can only differentiate between 20 or so people. As such it will only be used to tell which family member is using the computer at a given time. Therefore, the technology will only be useful to a company that is already tracking your computer but does not know which family member is currently using it. Thus, this technology will be (at best) an adjunct to more serious tracking technologies.

    It is unlikely that a technology could ever be developed that could pick a single person out of the entire population, from keystrokes alone. Not that much information is revealed from keystroke timing. Therefore, this technology is far less of a threat to privacy than, say, fingerprints.
  • Troi: Have you ever heard Data define "friendship"?

    Riker: No

    Troi: How did he put it..."As I experience certain sensory input patterns, my mental pathways become accustomed to them. The inputs are eventually anticipated and even missed when absent."

    Eventually, web sites will start saying "Welcome back, Zildy, I'm fond of you. Buy our crap."

    Zildy
  • you can admire the idea and worry about the privacy implications at the same time! :)

    --RJ
  • I still have an article from an old magazine (80's) with a basic program which accepts a password, and times the interval between keypresses. When a different user types in the same password it was able to determine that it was not the same person, while still accepting the original user.

    Long live Basic!

    -Adam

    This sig 80% recycled bits, 20% post user.
  • Seriously, it could correct spelling and grammar mistakes you make on the fly without you having to hit the backspace key simply by understanding how you use your keyboard. They could also have a completely voluntary profiling system on a website that would allow you do use "personal profiles" on different systems, so all you have to do is download a program, log in online, and you have an automatic spelling and grammar checker at your fingertips

    Mmm-hmm. Please check http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/jargon/html/entry/DWIM. html [tuxedo.org] for an example of where this leads.

    And since you have to log in to a remote machine to use this service, you're doing the hard work for them--they already know that user XYZ is sitting down at 111.222.222.111. No company in the world would pass up the opportunity to sell this info once they realized, "Hey, we have a userbase, and we know which IPs they're using 75% of the time." And what happens if you're in the back of the beyond, far from even a 14.4 dialup? "Sorry, I need to access the Net, otherwise I type really slow." No thanks!

  • 1. I think I read about this is in a Star Trek book. First communicators become cell phones and now this.

    2. The problem with biometric security is that it biometric information never changes. What if somebody gets your DNA information or captures your keystrokes? You're pretty much screwed after that unless you get genetic resquencing or an alternate personality where you type differently.

    Grr I'm reading/viewing too much Star Trek.
  • But then they can just license this technology [bitboost.com] to filter it out.
  • "That scares me a little. But its also a cool idea" ... I wish posters would know when they have nothing meaningful to add to a story and just post it sans comment.
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Saturday May 26, 2001 @08:59PM (#197726)
    > Caveat emptor.

    For us, sure. But what about those who don't know what they're buying? For those who don't even get the chance to opt out?

    The scariest moment I had last year was when I went and helped fix a co-worker's Dell machine. "It crashes when we read our email".

    Out-of-the-box, it had "built-in" Internet through AT&T. I don't know what it used for a browser, but it wasn't IE or Nutscrape. It was this little goofy window with big buttons and, of course, constantly-refreshing banners. If I hadn't known better, I'd have sworn it was AllAdvantage or some other free-if-you-look-at-the-ads thing. Nope - they swore up and down that "this is how it came, this is how they told us to read our email", and showed me their monthly bill for internet access.

    (The reason they couldn't read their mail was that one of the *advertising* partners had spammed them - with gobs of HTML - and the retarded email client blew up on a buffer overflow when it tried to render the HTML in the Subject: header. As if I didn't need any other excuse to tell them that privacy-invasion is the default, not the exception.

    I never thought I'd say that I felt good about seeing someone run Outbreak Excess and IE5. But after a couple of hours of patches, they were at least able to read mail using the client they were used to using at work, and browse the web without being tracked any more than normal.

    It was a real wake-up call for me. I'd recommend any /.er walk over to a Gateway Country booth or talk to a clueless-newbie friend (you may have to ask your friends to introduce you to their friends to find one! ;-) who just got a new Dell "with all the goodies already set up".

    Would I need Xanax if something like Predictive's technology comes pre-installed on WinXP? (Well, I suppose not, because I'd rather eat a pound of broken glass, shit it all out, and roll in the resulting mess until I bled to death than run XP.)

    But when someone says "it doesn't hurt children", they usually mean because I'm trying to distract you from the fact that it was designed to hurt you.

  • by Tackhead (54550) on Friday May 25, 2001 @03:13PM (#197727)
    > Predictive's Mr. Hosea acknowledges that the company's new technology isn't foolproof. But he notes that Predictive doesn't permit ads for pornography, alcohol or firearms. And the technology increases the chances that children won't see ads targeted at older people, he says.

    Well, then, I guess if it's designed not to harm the pwecious chylllldrun, it's OK!

    Way to go, Mr. Hosea! You're a really swell guy! I mean, now that you've told me you won't use it to hurt chillllldrun, I think it's really awesome that you can can monitor my mouse-gesture and record my every keystroke! After all, isn't any privacy invasion justified as long as the invader promises that not a single chyuld is harmed?

    (Yeah, Hosea, and the rest of his scumbag marketroids, I've got a fuckin' gesture for you, and it's got nothin' to do with my mouse.)


  • Deutsche Bank has something they use which is similar for security purposes. I don't know what exactly the name is, but I saw a briefer on it while on a contracting assignment. The program supposedly lays in the background over a period of time, and analyzes the user's input, keystroke methods, wpm's, amounts of typos, mouse movements, and creates a profile for the user, so should they leave and forget to log off their terminals, it'll lock anyone out should they sit down and not match the credos.

    Shit I wish I knew the name of it exactly since it was developed as part of a Bell Labs project from way back, but I can't think of it =[


  • What kind of world are we living in where nobody trusts anybody and where everybody is spying on everybody? I use to fear a the rise of a centralized Big Brother à la 1984. Now I realize it's much worst than that. Thousands of little Big Brothers are sprouting everywhere to spy on your typing and click patterns, your gestures, your emails, your cultural interests, your purchases and your identity.

    We can kiss our freedom goodbye! A society without mutual trust is a slave society and will not last long. Distrust can only engender bad will. If we, as a species, fail to snip this madness in the bud, we're fucked!!
  • > Fortunately, in order for it to work, the user needs to be running the tracking software on their computer.

    Does the phrase "Microsoft Windows XP" mean anything to you ?
  • Just wait till this comes with censorware being installed on schools and libraries. Sometimes it's okay not to chill, because with today's society: if it can happen, it will happen.

    - Steeltoe
  • I'd be rather easy to identify - I've found that I have a sort of nervous tic with my mouse. One of Windows 9x's more annoying bugs is that it will, every once in a while, become absolutely convinced that the user is clicking the right button when she is, in fact, clicking the left button. The way to end this is simple enough: right-click on something. Everything becomes happy once more.

    But I have found that I have a tendency to right-click everything, often before I left-click it - the desktop, window bars, web page bodies... soemtimes I play with it, clicking closer to or further from the screen's edge to get the context-menu to behave differently. It's a nervous habit. It rarely causes problems (well, it certainly causes them in PuTTY), and it generally staves off the right-click bug. It is, I suppose, harmless.

    Oh, and I can't do it on a Mac. Cursèd Macs.



    -J
  • Traditional methods (cookies, gifs, ...) can identify user too: every popular browser now supports user profiles, so different cookies are stored for each user on a single computer.

    This technology can help if someone works under my login, but IMHO its rare practice now.
  • This certainly can't happen. I can not fathom just how they would be able to tell the hundreds of millions of people apart by the way they type and move the mouse. True, one can make very broad and sweeping generalizations (redundant?) but there will be mistakes for sure. This would also require software to implement on the user end so it will certainly be an opt in thing unless someone can talk an unnamed monopoly into integrating it into their OS :p
    Joe McGuire
    tinfoil.music
  • think twice before clicking on the link?
    --
    andy j.
  • My system is always on and my cat likes to walk all over the keyboard.

    Lets see what their profiling says of THAT!
    ------------------------------------------- -------
  • Don't worry, bro. Quicktime still hasn't made a viewer for Solaris or Linux, or BSD. I bet if you dont' have WinBlows, this tracking software isn't written for your OS anyways. :P
    ---------------------------------------------- ----
  • (Posted without +1 bonus, because this is going far off-topic; moderators, ignore)

    Valve's netcode is already destroyed, according to a lot of people.
    By that, I meant actually removing the code. Valve is rapidly removing support for the old net code, and considering the amount of time they've invested in it, there's no way it's going to be removed. As for whether it's actually good, that depends on perspective; it initially faced a strong backlash from many people (including myself) because of curved bullets, exploitation, and the effect it's had on weapons balance. Whether that's better than control delay is arguable.

    So clients can spoof responses. So what? Isn't the server supposed to parse responses such that if a spoofed response is off, the server drops the connection with something like "user sent bogus command". I've had that happen to me on quite a few occasions.
    In your case, my first guess would be that a packet got mangled or corrupted, causing mis-parsing; this also may be a symptom of the bug where the reliable packet stream fragments and becomes corrupted if too much (normal) data is sent. The entire point of intercepting and modifying packets is that you send the data which would be sent if your modifications were not in place, so the server can't detect anything.
    Still, you can't blame a guy for trying. It's wishful thinking, I know, but simply because fusion power is currently impossible for us to develop doesn't mean we shouldn't look down that road.
    No game can ever be completely impossible to cheat in; the best that can be obtained is very, very hard to cheat in, after which point you just count on the fact that the best programmers aren't the ones who write cheats.
    ------------------
    A picture is worth 500 DWORDS.
  • The parent is slightly off-topic, in that the story is about distinguising multiple users on the same machine based on keyboard/mouse usage patterns. Still, I'll address it, since as a HL mod coder I can't stand hearing incorrect information regarding the game.
    Next thing ya know, someone will develop a program for CounterStrike servers that can track players' movement, aiming, and keystrokes
    The server threads already know everything there is to know about players' movement and aiming. Tracking keystrokes, however, can't be done without moving keyboard parsing into the server thread, which consequentially means completely destroying Valve's net code and re-writing a lot of the engine.

    that can tell the server admins if they're using binds to things like: "gl_texturemode GL_LINEAR_MIPMAP_LINEAR;bind r gl_texturemode GL_LINEAR_MIPMAP_NEAREST;"
    This can't be determined from key patterns, since it's entirely pre-entered configuration data, so to do this from the server would mean creating a challenge/response for the key/aliases table (which is easily faked). Doing this from the client inside the engine would require an ugly hack which would be worked around almost immediately; and since games can't be updated too frequently, that's as good as not working at all. Doing it from any sort of TSR outside the game's thread would require cross-program memory reading, which is disgusting hackish and non-portable at best.

    On the bright side, though, that would be rather neat. The server admins would once and for all know who was and who wasn't cheating on their servers, though I figure all the privacy advocates would go apeshit over it.
    But, it doesn't let server admins know who's cheating. Any cheat which can be detected by the server is a cheat that doesn't work properly; there's absolutely nothing which can prevent clients from spoofing responses.

    As for this technology, however, it's not like this is anything new. Didn't DoubleClick.net have something like this going that would track what sorts of banners you would click on as well as what sites you visit such that they can tailor their ads to your preferences to attempt to get you to click on them?
    This is getting back on topic now. The difference with this is that it monitors keyboard/mouse usage patterns to distinguish between multiple users of the same system.
    ------------------
    A picture is worth 500 DWORDS.
  • No mouse. No X. If its something I am going to do twice a week I write a programe to do it for me.

    So I guess on this little app of I would be the guy who had one tenth the number of key strokes as the adverage and no mouse clicks.

    Oh, and I us a operating system that allows me to avoid having things like this put on my system in the first place.

  • If you don't want Big ISP Brother snooping your mouse twitches, then don't sign up...
    ISPs already use Predictive's services to build silhouettes of Web sites visited through a person's computer. Subscribers agree to allow the tracking in exchange for low-priced Web access, and Predictive says it doesn't keep records of names or addresses.

    But some privacy advocates have likened the service to unauthorized eavesdropping.

    "Subscribers agree..." sounds pretty authorized to me.
  • Scares the HELL out of me. Just imagine the type of abuse that this technology could lead to.
    So that can tell whether it is me or my 4-year-old who visits the Blues Clues site. So what?

    Not that I'm going to sign up or anything...I just don't see this as a big deal in the overall privacy picture.

  • &ltkarma_whore&gt
    ...instead of that glorified task switcher and collection of drivers called Windows. Then they could distinguish family members by login.
    &lt/karma_whore&gt
  • They have talked about using this for recognition of forgeries. But, it was talk -- I have not heard about this in years.

  • My system is always on and my cat likes to walk all over the keyboard.

    I wonder if your cat saw lots of ads for cat food when taking a walk over the keyboard :) And I wonder what Predictive makes of a cat chasing the mouse...

  • Anyone find it funny that this story and the KGesture story were posted on the same day? It's an evil, vast corporate conspiracy to track our usage patterns even when we avoid the Evil Empire!


    ------------
  • Good point--hadn't thought of that :P I wish /. had an "edit post" option.
    ------------
  • Have you ever heard of MyComet Cursor? What a perfect way to disguise your click-identification software, as a piece of software that changes your mouse pointer :)

  • The article isn't really clear how something like this would work. One big huge background Gif-map? A java/cgi program loaded at startup?

    Seems to me it'd be pretty easy to screw with their data as well. Just throw in a few random up/down arrow keys, or slightly change your mouse acceleration at random times.
  • It would be nice if somebody would block the pop-ups for me...

    Somebody does [junkbusters.com].

    --
    I hit the karma cap, now do I gain enlightenment?

  • I am Tiger Woods [ifilm.com]

    if it's broken, copy and paste.. then strip the spaces:
    http://ifilm.com/db/redirect/1,1775,,00.html?red ir =http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eneurotrash%2Ecom%2Findex%2Ecfm %3Ffuseaction%3Dclip%5Fdetails%26clip%5Fid%3D420+

    ---
  • Does that make me one ? ;)
  • Yay, I get to be sliced, diced, and analyzed even MORE closely now by people who want me to buy more stuff.

    I wonder how far off it is to the day when advertisers take genetic fingerprints to identify what particular products people are inclined to buy? Ofcourse, it'll all be anonymous like this technology... no names will be used in the analysis of my buying habits so my privacy will be completely secure with my remote control that transmits my channel clicking habits, my mouse that records my hand motions, my keyboard that returns my typing rate, along with the manufacturer of all my electronics, my age, gender, household income, pets, dogs, the color of my carpet, the food I eat, how long I brush my teeth for, whether or not when I lost my virginity, who my friends are, how tall I am, how much I weigh, how often I jerk off, the porn I download, how many rants I post on /., my political affiliation, do I work, etc...etc...just so I'll buy that fucking 10 CD set from Tower Records. But my name will never be mentioned.

    Thanks but no thanks.
  • This kind of software should be modified to
    get better search results through patterns
    analysis instead locating users in
    internet.

    just my 2 cents
  • Predictive's new "biometric" tool would solve that problem by creating user silhouettes based on the distinct patterns a person makes when using a keyboard, mouse or remote control.

    Of course, they'd do well to also keep track of the time of day... as one's motor skills have been known to diminish as one consumes more beer. :)

    But seriously, I'd think it would be kind of neat to make a screensaver that only deactivated upon the press of a key, but made, ummm, "interesting" series of mouse movements to spoof this "bionmetric" tool. Choose different settings: impaired, slow 'n precise, 3l33t hax0r! Send enough bogus data down the pipe and they'll never figure out what is real!

  • If they're giving free internet accounts to people for installing the software, it'll be minutes before someone reverse-engineers the protocol which the client uses. Then, they'll make a daemon running on Linux which emulates the clicking/moving/typing and voila, free internet.
  • by RetroGeek (206522) on Friday May 25, 2001 @02:40PM (#197758) Homepage
    if you use your left hand.

    -----------
  • Phoenix Software International [phoenixsoftware.com] has a security software product that recognizes keyboard typing patterns as well as the passwords typed for access control.

    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" - Ogden Nash

  • I'd certainly give a clock cycle or two to a small piece of code intercepting my keypresses and randomly adding and subtracting a few milliseconds to or from each.

    Bio-metric THIS you "Big Brother" scumbags!

  • I don't remember what book I read it in, though I think it was by Larry Niven, but the idea is definitely not new.. (Your idea that is.) Is was completely automatic in the book (retina-scan of the user or something like that), but that's hardly relevant. And the idea is hardly something that struck me as more than obvious at the time..
  • by unformed (225214)
    So there IS a reason to sniff somebody's Logitech trackball. I got myself I new patent, for a fingerprint like technology using mice. I'll call it Mouseprint.
  • Consumers will agree to whatever you tell them to do, as long as you give a "discount" for the service. They don't even have to know they're agreeing...just put a blurb about being monitored in the license portion of the InstallShield script, and you're done.
  • It's an evil, vast corporate conspiracy to track our usage patterns even when we avoid the Evil Empire!
    Only if you allow such software to run on your system.

    But consider some good things we can do with this technology, like improving security. Instead of just knowing someone's userid is zaphodb and password is P4nG4l4ct1cG4rgl3Bl4st3r, you have to get the timing of the keystrokes within tolerances built up for that person's profile! Even an "escrowed" password, or one given up under duress, would be worthless if not entered with the right rhythm. And I know my rhythm is going to be messed up with armed thugs watching me....

    A friend and I were hammering out how this would work at a LUG meeting a month or two ago. You need hooks in SSH to transmit keystroke timings along with the userid/password, so that this can be done for remote access. Most likely, when the timing is the only thing wrong, an additional challenge would be raised (rather like logging in as mere_user and su'ing to root) with the hidden option to enter a special duress code that would lock the system down tighter or even melt it down entirely, while it gives every indication on the surface that a successful login had occurred.

  • I completely agree. the only way this software could work is if the user being identified, agrees to run the software locally on the machine. If they do that, then why bother trying to guess who they are. No user will agree to download software with the stated purpose this software has, AND NOR AFREE to be tracked and identified through some simpler mechanism such as a Userid/cookie/IP/session based tracking methodology. Although it is a theoretically neat idea, it seems like a waste of time to have actually developed it, in that I really can't see any real application where the above user conditions would not apply.

    --CTH

    --
  • This is not a bad deal when the company doing it is up front about it like this one is. Targeting ads is, in and of itself, not a bad thing as long as it is not jammed down your throat.

    Right now you get to make the choice to provide them with the information using this tool or not.
    The bad JuJU starts happening when this is used in spyware.

  • I just use my breath to move my cursor and my tongue to click.

    On the other hand, not that I can use it, maybe that makes me stand out (sit out?) even more ...

    And the speech recognition does it all in a burst, so that's probably real recognizable

    [note - no electrons were harmed in the making of this post]

  • I just finished reading the Logitech Mouse/Keyoard Wireless fiasco down the page a bit. It contained a comment written by Cardhore saying
    Mouse data is useful.
    Your double-click speed, combined with mouse acceleration, velocity, and number of buttons is practically a DNA fingerprint of your computer!
    I laughed at the time.
    This comment was also posted 10s of hours ago as well.
    Now hows that for a coincidence! Find the comment here [slashdot.org].

    IRC Addict.
  • How about if someone wrote a program that continuously and randomly adjusted the speed and acceleration of the mouse? Your patterns of using the mouse would have a random element introduced (though it would be a headache to use if the differences were big enough). You might be able to do something about the keyboard as well.

    Now, what about mouse wheels? I the wheel alot, particularly on long pages like slashdot.

  • We can use this product to find out who has been posting those damn goatse.cx links.



    Ewige Blumenkraft!
  • First, they can determine that it's me on the computer, and not somebody else. Second, they will be able to determine that I never click on their ads. Since the goal of this software is to determine what sort of ads I will respond to and send me those sorts of ads, will they eventually stop sending them? It would be nice if somebody would block the pop-ups for me...
  • I would like to see them try that with me! Would they be able to tell I was only surfing with one hand today since my TOWEL was in my other hand!

    Surprisingly, there was no followup story to the first about Towel Day, I hope that hoopy CmdrTaco knows where his towel is today! I sure do! :P

    =-=-=-=-=

  • They should pay me money to do this. After extensive research and many self-tests, I have found that web surfers at pr0n sites hardly ever use the keyboard and mouse at the same time. I still don't understand why.

    =-=-=-=-=

  • "You leave a little bit of your personal signature on your remote," says Predictive's chief executive, Devin Hosea.


    Depends on your aim, doesn't it? ;)
  • During World War One, telegraph operators could be identified by their unique styles. In this way, the movements of military units could be tracked. I don't see how this is much different.
  • by anon757 (265661)
    Geez, after that, the Lynx web browser sure is starting to look good now. Mmmm no javascript, no activeX & no "user silhouettes"... privacy is good.
  • "He says the technology can even determine whether a man is watching alone or is watching with his wife and has control of the clicker. When he's with his wife, a man will typically only switch channels during commercial breaks, but then he may hit several different channels searching for sports scores. If the wife has control, she will go to a single channel -- often one with music videos -- and stay there throughout the commercial break" Does this mean I'm going to have to watch tampon commercials if I dont channel surf during commercials?
  • OK, something new can be used to identify your usage patterns. Big freakin' deal. Every time a poster mentions a cool idea like this, some sort of neat ID method which doesn't require cards or passwords, somebody mentions how "scary" it is. Why? Your skin, fingerprints, vocal patterns, mannerisms, the way you move and talk all identify who you are. The way you post on slashdot identifies who you are -- in fact, a cool but probably impossible feature to slashcode would be a symantic login system, which guesses your ID based on your input speed, cadence, number of spelling mistakes and which words you don't correct properly, your vocabulary and your tendancy to resort to FP. My point is, that identification in and of itself means nothing -- unless the system knows something about you besides that. It's once a system like this is combined with some insidious hack (notice I didn't mention "advertising" -- personalized advertising is a much more preferrable to today's "you have one message waiting but your connection isn't optimized so shock the damn monkey" ads) to track web viewership that the concept leaves simple coolness factors and enters into a whole realm of dangerous big brothering. Of course, technically you could acheive the same thing with a massive log linkage system...

    And of course, your ultimate reparation to this paranoia? Switch to a Dvorak keyboard and Trackpad when you want to be sneaky...you usage patterns will instantly change with an unfamiliar key setup and shortened track field. Hell, it wouldn't take much to defeat this system entirely...a randomized keyboard -- where keys change to different positions across the pad and are identified with slick LEDs on the keys themselves -- would change your usage patterns per session.
  • by mbessey (304651) on Friday May 25, 2001 @02:48PM (#197779) Homepage Journal
    As for this technology, however, it's not like this is anything new. Didn't DoubleClick.net have something like this going that would track what sorts of banners you would click on as well as what sites you visit such that they can tailor their ads to your preferences to attempt to get you to click on them?
    The new thing is that they claim to be able to tell who's currently using the computer. Rather than associating a profile with a particular computer using invisible gif's and tracking cookies, they can potentially determine just who's using the computer.

    That's a lot more useful to advertisers.

    I do wonder how they're going to get access to all that information unless the browser program itself provides it, though. Maybe with a plug-in that nominally performs some other function while secretly monitoring the keyboard & mouse? Of course, it's a lot easier in the interactive TV application - presumably, they just get the box manufacturer to release a "software update"...

  • This App [c5corp.com] analizes the organizational structure of the folders on your hard drive. How many icons do you keep on your desktop? How many files do you store in your root directory? These sorts of things say a lot about a person as well.
  • Could an E-Doctor diagnose me online using this software? He might be able to see that I have Parkinson's disease or Rhumatoid E-Thritis.
  • I've NEVER purchased anything on the Internet via a banner ad. I think I've clicked on maybe ten or twelve banner ads over the course of my entire online life, and most of those were back in the mid-90's, when many ads actually lead you to interesting sites without trying to track you, spy on you, or steal your personal information. These days, I rarely see banner ads, and I never see those from the major ad networks. I've fiddled with various blocking tools over the last year or two. My favorite has been The Proxomitron [cjb.net] but with my cable modem, the real-time processing of most web pages makes the speed of my browsing unbearably slow. I finally settled on using the Windows hosts file to block most known ad servers, and Edexter to serve up fake images so Netscape doesn't crap out trying to download a nonexistant banner ad on every page I visit. It doesn't catch everything, and it doesn't block the other annoyances that The Proxomitron can be programmed to catch, but it also doesn't affect the speed of my browser.

    See http://www.smartin-designs.com/ [smartin-designs.com] for a great prewritten hosts file and plenty of advice for using it. If you do use the hosts file to block banners, be sure to use eDexter [accs-net.com] as well, especially if you use Netscape.

    DennyK
  • Wow, what an amazing technology! I just pity whoever's incharge of finding out what the new computer buyer is trying to do. 'Cause they type really really slow! I tell you this technology ain't new. I mean just a few days ago we heard about the easy sniffing of wireless Logitech keyboards and mice. This is just code that does stuff. Maybe websites will make it so really slow computer users can just click once instead of twice to do something stupid.
  • In The Adolescence of P-1, P-1 recognizes people by their touch on the keyboard. This idea is old.
    --
  • Sure I was conducting market research in the early 90's, You know those cool little keystoke logs you could install on the Mac's and PC's at the local university. Sure nothing but research Detective, I swear. (With the current state of business ethics, I'm real sure they will protect my privacy)
  • I have an optical mouse. Supposed to be great cause you don't have to clean it. I have found this to be false. While the cleaning chore is reduced, the little opening where the optics are periodically picks up liffle tufts of cat hair and then my mouse goes crazy as the cat hair interacts with the table and twirls and such. So will this new identity technology program my computer to start barking at my cat whenever it detects the cat is getting hair in my mouse? That is the only useful thing I can think of having this stuff do.

    --
  • Is the fact that every marketing firm out there trying to make a buck, is using the internet userbase as a test group to market new methods to spam us. Great, we use more tabs as guys, and women use the mouse more? Does that mean weight loss programs will target guys more since we only hit a key versus women using their entire hand and therefore burn more carlories getting the same information? Its annoying, and an invasion of privacy, I mean do marketers have this kind of power when you eat out somewhere, or do they check whether you pick up the fork or knife first?

    Check The Nexes [dynip.com] via Telnet, a BBS with more! Feel nostaligic lately... See what you've been missing...
    Check out Nexes BBS | Science & Technology News Daily
    telnet://nexesbbs.dynip.com Login: NEW WG 3.20
  • I'm a web developer, and a crazy web surfer, and I don't know how many of you have noticed it but Websites out there are already using ideas like this. They monitor your every click on the site, and without you knowing, they customize the website just for you, to the extreme that for example .. say you click most often on the 'hof' link on the slash dot links to the left ... after a while, the website will recognize the pattern, and will position that link closer to the top for easier access, in the same way buttons, images, advertizement, website look, fonts, are being dynamically created by "smart" websites to fit the user's habbits and action patterns.
  • Identification By Typing
    Posted by CmdrTaco on Tuesday June 13, @12:31PM
    http://slashdot.org/articles/00/06/13/1551221.shtm l [slashdot.org]
    -----------------------
  • You didn't read the article: No pornography, alcohol or firearms!
  • It's not a bad idea but I don't see it working it's wonders on me.

    On almost every single webpage that I load there is an advertisement of some kind but I have yet to buy something from these ads. I'd honestly say that at most I've visited 1 out of every 200 of the banners' sites.

    I'd like to know how sucessful banner ads are? And how much better do you think they could get if they were directed towards you?

    It's at the point where when I loaded Slashdot and read the article a thoguht occured to me. I didn't even know what colour the banner at the top of the page was. I automatically skip it.


    - Cuyler

  • Failure & bankruptcy.

    And there's no UNDO command.
  • That scares me a little.

    Scares you a little? Scares the HELL out of me. Just imagine the type of abuse that this technology could lead to. When you concider the way that the goverment/industry/busnesses intrude on your privacy already..... just one omore thing for them to abuse.

    Remind me not to sign up for any service that uses this.

  • Big Business comes out with yet another (doomed to failure) technology to send me targeted advertising.
    Why do I say it's Doomed To Failure?
    Simple, because I (and many others) use Yet Another Interesting Technology.

    Ad Blockers.

    And why do I use this interesting, cheap, customisable and efficient technology (eg AdsOff from http://www.intercantech.com/)?
    Because I pay for every single Bit Per Second of bandwidth I have, personally, out of my own hard-earned cash, and because I'm not a Gazillionaire, I cannot afford enough bandwidth to thoroughly enjoy my internet connection AND have all the Ads THEY want to send me.

    So, as far as I'm concerned, they can LOOK all they want, cause I'm not even thinking about downloading their ads.

    Why is it illegal to send someone unsolicited commercial FAX messages? Because of the COST to the end user.

    Well, here's an interesting fact: When you send me ADS or SPAM emails, you consume MY bandwidth, which I paid for (local connection , as well as adding to general internet bandwidth consumption, which ends up increasing end-user costs - ie I end up paying for it), therefore you have COST me - both directly and indirectly.

    So WHY is what you're doing NOT illegal?
    When will the Government learn?

  • I can just see how they'd sneak it in:
    Would you like IE to install software that allows websites to better meet your interests? y/n?
    Um... sure, that sounds nice.

    At&t did something like that when I installed the cable modem softwware. Would you like @Home to run more efficiently on your compter? Um, WTF? Of course. Then it reassigned like fifty fucking extensions (.html, .jpg, you name it) to launch the fucking @home browser which puts up a fucking ad you have to close before you can continue. Assholes.

    Sorry for the slightly offtopic rant, but you get the idea.

  • It's very odd to make those types of sweeping generalizations... I myself key fairly quickly on the normal keyboard at work, but have a totally different pattern of keying on my natural keyboard at home, because I'm more relaxed, not doing work, etc. Ditto for the optical mouse/trackball differences between work & home.

    I almost take offense at the channel-surfing generality. I'm a notorious channel-surfer during commercials (and during shows, sometimes, too). Does that mean I'd get jock strap commercials? Viagra?

    Then again, as one of my co-workers pointed out: "Sysadmins don't have sex. Hey wait, that works both ways."

    --KshGoddess
  • Seriously. This thought just entered my head, and it will undoubtedly be stolen by some entrepreneur looking to make a few bucks, but oh well.

    Couldn't they modify this technology such that, not to invade upon your privacy or anything, but to understand the way you use your keyboard and mouse to be an automatic spelling checker?

    Seriously, it could correct spelling and grammar mistakes you make on the fly without you having to hit the backspace key simply by understanding how you use your keyboard. They could also have a completely voluntary profiling system on a website that would allow you do use "personal profiles" on different systems, so all you have to do is download a program, log in online, and you have an automatic spelling and grammar checker at your fingertips that logs what sort of keyboard you use and how well you use it. Sit in front of a keyboard that's the same model as the one at your house, and never have to worry about making a spelling error, even if you type differently on an ergonomic keyboard as opposed to a standard keyboard.

    In my personal opinion, this would be ultra-helpful, as I type about 150 WPM on ergonomic keyboards yet only about 40 WPM on standard keyboards.
  • Yes, it has, but not in the method I have proposed.

    All it does is use a static specification of "common errors" such that if you perform one, it corrects it on the fly. I'm talking about an online profiling system that corrects, on the fly, spelling errors dependent on the type of keyboard you use. If you use a different brand-name of keyboard, you're undoubtedly going to experience certain nuances with that keyboard that you aren't used to, and thus, you're going to start collecting spelling errors. The program would log those errors, as well as offer fixes, and in time, it will get used to you making those kinds of errors such that when you do make those errors, it automatically fixes them and sends a profile update back to the site (with your consent, of course).
  • And since you have to log in to a remote machine to use this service, you're doing the hard work for them--they already know that user XYZ is sitting down at 111.222.222.111. No company in the world would pass up the opportunity to sell this info once they realized, "Hey, we have a userbase, and we know which IPs they're using 75% of the time." And what happens if you're in the back of the beyond, far from even a 14.4 dialup? "Sorry, I need to access the Net, otherwise I type really slow." No thanks!

    In the case of being in the back of the beyond, far from a 14.4 dialup, would it be safe to assume that the computer you're using is one that you are used to using? I mean, if you're far from a possible net connection, as in, way out in the middle of nowhere, chances are you're stuck on a laptop where your cellphone service doesn't reach.

    It wouldn't be "Sorry, I need to access the Net, otherwise I type really slow." It would be "Sorry, I need to access the net, otherwise I'm going to make huge amounts of spelling errors up the arse because I've gotten so used to having my hand held that I've gotten lazy at learning how to type."

    I admit, it wouldn't be useful for the majority of us, but the comparison as well as the usefulness of it being used for the majority of the AOL lemmings out there would make some big money.
  • Furthermore, the thing I'm talking about would be almost completely clientside. You install the program, and download the profile. If you don't have a net connection where you currently are, it can still work for you as long as you have the program installed, it just wouldn't have the option to upload anything. It would still understand how you use the keyboard and work the way it's supposed to.

    And if it's really necessary for you to have that profile, you can just save the thing to a floppy disk, bring it to a computer that has a net connection, and upload it.

    Of course, something like this isn't all that feasable in the first place, but it still sounds cool even if a little bit unrealistic.
  • As I stated before, it's the switch command necessary for the OpenGL wallhack that's freely available.

    You download the hacked OpenGL32.dll, put it in your HL directory, and run HL. It has an OpenGL32.ini file that controls it all.

    All the wallhack does is control whether textures are rendered with transparency enabled or disabled. When you enable the wallhack, the textures are still rendered, but the RGB information is decoded as all alpha channels. You still see the textures, though they look more like glass walls than solid walls. You still get walls and floors, they're just almost totally transparent. It doesn't actually change the mipmapping mode, it just acts as a switch for whether or not you want RGB texture info converted to alpha texture info.
  • Or if they really want to get crafty, they can use spyware systems that have worked in the past such as Comet Cursor. Package something "cool" but totally useless, everyone thinks it's neat and installs it, and the next thing you know, WHAM, they've got you logged no matter where you go.
  • by Pyrion Celendil (455058) on Friday May 25, 2001 @02:37PM (#197804) Homepage
    Next thing ya know, someone will develop a program for CounterStrike servers that can track players' movement, aiming, and keystrokes, that can tell the server admins if they're using binds to things like:

    "gl_texturemode GL_LINEAR_MIPMAP_LINEAR;bind r gl_texturemode GL_LINEAR_MIPMAP_NEAREST;"

    In case you're curious, that's the switch command necessary for the OpenGL wallhack that's freely available.

    On the bright side, though, that would be rather neat. The server admins would once and for all know who was and who wasn't cheating on their servers, though I figure all the privacy advocates would go apeshit over it.

    As for this technology, however, it's not like this is anything new. Didn't DoubleClick.net have something like this going that would track what sorts of banners you would click on as well as what sites you visit such that they can tailor their ads to your preferences to attempt to get you to click on them?

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.

Working...