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Fingerprint Scanner That Works From 6 Feet 83

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the welcome-to-the-future dept.
Bruce Schneier found a somewhat older story that I haven't seen before about a device that is smaller than a tissue box, but uses two 1.3 megapixel cameras and a polarized light source to scan a fingerprint from two meters away.
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Fingerprint Scanner That Works From 6 Feet

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  • Neat but I don't see the point. Why grab someone's fingerprints from a couple of meters when you can just have them swipe it on a pad? Could anyone point out the (legitimate, non-thiefy) benefits of such a device?
    • If it becomes good enough, then you could finger print somebody without him knowing, if his hands are open. You could wave at him, and if he waves back, then you have his finger prints.

    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by milkmage (795746) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @09:33AM (#36153414)

      Why? because you didn't read:

      "Currently, individuals entering a military installation must place their fingers on a scanner, with a Marine standing beside them to help ensure a viable print. Powell would prefer there to be a safe distance between the Marine and the person being scanned."

      aside from personal safety, if you don't touch the pad, you don't smudge it.. thus the part about "viable print"

      • only outdated low security use finger prints i.e. borders and crime scene investigators
        soon mexico will uses iris for those...

        get an iris scanner

        regards

        John Jones

        • by AJH16 (940784)

          As I recall, when the False Reject Rate is adjusted to be comparable, the False Accept Rate also becomes comparable between the two technologies. I'm not sure that this is up to date though.

        • by Matheus (586080)

          RTFA:

          The military has a growing interest in biometric sensors that operate at a distance. The U.S. Department of Defense awarded $1.5 million to Carnegie Mellon's CyLab Biometrics Lab to support development of technology that performs iris detection at 13 meters.

          They're already using it... the issue is data set and captureability. You don't leave Iris prints at a crime scene. Also they have been collecting fingerprints for eons. Iris is a much newer tech and so, although there are some pretty massive Iris databases already growing, it is more likely that they have your print to match you than they have your Iris.

          In our business the key is "multi-biometrics". we capture and search against as many biometrics as are available at the time. Severely increases

        • regards

          John Jones

          The Martian Manhunter don't need no stinkin scanner.

      • "Currently, individuals entering a military installation must place their fingers on a scanner, with a Marine standing beside them to help ensure a viable print. Powell would prefer there to be a safe distance between the Marine and the person being scanned."

        Given a Marine carrying a sidearm the "safe distance" is far more than 6 feet. ;-)

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Neat but I don't see the point. Why grab someone's fingerprints from a couple of meters when you can just have them swipe it on a pad? Could anyone point out the (legitimate, non-thiefy) benefits of such a device?

      What, as opposed to the TSA setting up a backscatter imager in a public place, and by the time people reached the sign indicating they were in an area that "might" be scanned, they already had been? Or a courthouse keeping thousands of images of people in the scanners?

      This is all about people who

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by CrispyZorro (1809948)

        This is all about people who are quite willing to implement the surveillance society for us. Everything you do will be monitored, without you knowing it.

        I finally found a use for my tin-foil gloves.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        If you are against being a compliant sheep.....raise your hand!

    • by wiedzmin (1269816)
      TSA
    • by sjames (1099)

      Because we can't track your movements secretly if you have to willingly put your finger on the scanner. Nothing to see here, move along citizen!

  • I hope no one figures out how to implement this in such a way that I don't miss out on my complimentary TSA gropes.
  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @09:12AM (#36153114)
    What a great way to surreptitiously collect fingerprints en masse: take this device, attach a camera, and use a website like Facebook to connect an image of a person's face to the recorded fingerprint.

    Any lawyers want to comment on the legality of such an operation in the United States?
  • by Hazel Bergeron (2015538) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @09:12AM (#36153116) Journal

    At a distance it'll be even harder to tell that you're wearing a fake fingerprint skin.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@NOspAm.world3.net> on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @09:12AM (#36153132) Homepage

    Fringerprints are worthless as biometric identity data because they are easy to acquire and copy but impossible to replace once compromised.

    • impossible to replace once compromised.

      Can you name biometrics that can be replaced?

      • by Nidi62 (1525137)

        Can you name biometrics that can be replaced?

        "Welcome back, Mr. Yakamoto! How are those assorted tank tops working out?"

      • by Nerdfest (867930)
        Biometrics can be captured in a revocable manner, but cannot be replaced. Several companies are working on revocable biometrics. Also, if you can reliably detect spoofing, a biometric is not really 'compromised'. Generally people use at least 2 factor authentication, just in case.
    • Isn't the ability to not be replaced the whole point of using biometric data to identify people?
      • by profplump (309017)

        Yes. But people keep envisioning (and sometimes implementing) authentication systems that use biometrics only, which is just as bad a plan as giving 500 people the same key to a building. So long as biometrics are paired with a second authentication factor that can be changed they still represent a net improvement in security, even if a copy of your biometric data becomes available and can be successfully substituted at the point of authentication.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          You would have the same problem with alternative authentication as currently exists with the Chip & Pin system for bank cards. In theory you can sign rather than use the pin number, and in fact some people can't use the pin for medical reasons, but many retailers are deeply suspicious of people using a signature. Aside from anything else the card issuer holds them liable for fraud if they agree to accept a signature.

  • by zill (1690130) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @09:20AM (#36153248)

    Fingerprint Sniffer That Works From 6 Feet

    Doesn't this technology invalidate all existing fingerprint scanners? An attacker can easily mine the fingerprints of every employee of a company by leaving a few innocent looking rocks in their parking lot.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @09:23AM (#36153292)

      Not a problem for me. I wear tinfoil gloves.

    • by MischaNix (2163648) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @09:24AM (#36153304)
      People don't give a damn about the validity of their existing security technologies. They just like the feeling of security.
      • Exactly. We lock all kinds of things up behind conventional six-pin locks. They've been pickable for far longer than I care to consider, but we still trust that our valuables are safe.

    • by jgtg32a (1173373)
      Most people over the age of 5 don't pick up innocent looking rocks in the parking lot.
      • Most people over the age of 5 don't pick up innocent looking rocks in the parking lot.

        ummm... yeah we do

      • by zill (1690130)

        A rock by the entrance can capture the fingerprint of everyone that walks by.

      • by X0563511 (793323)

        You apparently missed the "From X DISTANCE" part of the fucking story title.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      it doesn't invalidate the scanners, it just invalidates the idea that fingerprints would be secret. they're not, they never were.

      it just invalidates the idea that they're secret. anyways, a scanner that works really close, with a big sensor, could provide you better results and do day-to-day adjustments.

      also one thing some people forget, all regular keys can be copied with a cellphone camera and somebody with determination(or with the help of someone with determination). think about that.

      (so whats the resul

      • by profplump (309017)

        Exactly. Like all security systems, it's not perfect. Using several together can mitigate the flaws in any one system. Biometrics are useful in that they don't require you to carry around anything -- hence they are user-friendly -- and are somewhat more difficult to fake than a traditional key (not necessarily harder to obtain, but at attended posts the guard could notice your fake thumb/eye/weight belt, whereas he could not be expected to notice a fake key). But any biometric scan you'd be willing to submi

  • the middle finger?

  • ... High school yearbook editors still can't seem to catch and remove all photos containing the Shocker [wikipedia.org]. Does this scanner ever error "201 - Two in the Pink, One in the Stink"?

  • I don't see the point. Women at the bars say they know exactly who I am from across the room. *shrug*
  • by ThunderBird89 (1293256) <(zalanmeggyesi) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @09:31AM (#36153390)

    Cool, so now I can log into my laptop by giving it thumbs up if I buy the device?
    Double thumbs up for su?

  • If so, I would like to take the whole day off without ever entering my office space.
  • I can see how this development will enhance our liberties!

  • Discount? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Gravitron 5000 (1621683) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @09:43AM (#36153526)
    From TFA.

    Burcham says several potential customers have indicated that a single-finger scanner would be sufficient for their needs—so AOS plans to sell both a single-finger device and a more expensive five-finger device.

    But shouldn't there be a 5 finger discount?

    • Burcham says several potential customers have indicated that a single-finger scanner would be sufficient for their needs

      Perhaps they meant a specific finger, and he didn't get the joke.

  • I hope I'm not the only one who read the headline as something to do with scanning my feet. Need. More. Coffee.
  • by nomel (244635) <turd@noSpAm.inorbit.com> on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @10:28AM (#36154152) Homepage Journal

    Could someone explain how this works? Is this some sort of speckle interferometer? I don't understand how you can get the ridge profile by separating the light polarities unless you're shining the laser at very steep angles..

    • by nomel (244635)

      Maybe it's something like this Touchless 3-D Fingerprinting [technologyreview.com] with two polarized beams going at once to speed things up.

    • by jimand (517224) *
      I can't fathom it either.
    • by npsimons (32752) *

      Could someone explain how this works? Is this some sort of speckle interferometer? I don't understand how you can get the ridge profile by separating the light polarities unless you're shining the laser at very steep angles

      I have no idea how this works, but I was immediately reminded of hyperspectral imaging [wikipedia.org] which can do things like pick out days old tracks that are invisible to regular cameras and the naked eye. I am only vaguely acquainted with HSI, so make of that what you will.

  • by NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @11:31AM (#36155032)
    I have been using fingerprint scanners for years, even on laptops. Recently they added them at my gym. They work for me about 15% of the time, and my finger is pressing against it. I have also read about retinal scanners that work at 5 meters. Perhaps like many products, these work well in the lab but not in the wild.
    • The gym one is likely the result of sweat. Image based fingerprint scanning is probably MORE reliable.

  • Good News (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @12:28PM (#36155948)
    for glove sales.

When I left you, I was but the pupil. Now, I am the master. - Darth Vader

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