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Biotech Security

Skeletal Identification 76

Bruce Schneier noted a story today over at his blog about a new Skeletal Identification System being developed at Wright State. Of course this is just another biometric detection system, but one that would be pretty tough to disguise.
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Skeletal Identification

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  • Hot. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @09:07AM (#33353826)

    I imagine there may be some issues with irradiating people to identify them. This isn't something on the surface you can just get with backscatter terahertz. Imaging bones means X-ray, and a fair bit of it for a full-body image. They might be able to get it down to the equivilent exposure of one plane flight - but add up all the airports, ports, theme parks and places adults may encouter children each year. That's a potential legal risk, if nothing else.

    On the other hand, if someone suggested imposing manditory x-ray exposure as a means to identify pedophiles, most people would probably suggest positive results be given an extra-high-intensity scan just to confirm it with a clearer image.

  • by TheLuggage2008 ( 1199251 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @09:18AM (#33353940)

    How long before there's a false-positive (I don't believe that the skeletal structure is so unique that a body scan from a distance will NEVER make a mistake)? And following the false-positive, a plea for all good citizens to submit to a scan for the database, or to sign a release stating the government can have access to your medical records for the purposes of security and to prevent "unfortunate" mix-ups.

    Once you're in the system, you're in it; making the notion that you have "paid your debt to society" when you are release from incarceration nothing more than an illusion. You can make whatever arguments you like about the usefulness of databases for certain types of offenders but systems like these mean that if you ever offend and serve time, for anything you will forever be watched; you won't have to be a terrorist or a pedophile.

    I'm just glad this is being done in the name of safety, that's gotta be worth a whole bunch of anyone's liberty...

  • Easy to fool... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by theNAM666 ( 179776 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @09:21AM (#33353970)

    Oh come on. This is easier to avoid than using glitter to fool mass face recognition.

    That is, to have much value, working "at 50 meters," this is a mass detection system. You have to analyze hundreds if not thousands of targets, to known profiles. How do you fool it? Calcium is cheap, real cheap.

  • by h00manist ( 800926 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @09:24AM (#33354024) Journal
    Myriads of automated, interconnected tracking and identification systems available to all, implemented in any storefront and doorway for security and insurance purposes. Full identification on visual contact. Privacy will become a right on paper only, requiring a vast security team to implement in practice, perhaps even breaking some laws. What should hackers do? Help dying privacy rights, with arcane tools nobody can use? Expose the tracking systems is pointless, everyone knows about them and has one. Leak their data? Leak the identities and actions of those hidden entities, who are abusing the law with it? Eliminating the last of all privacy-capable individuals? Looks to me like Wikileaks is the future for privacy activism. Come to think of it, in any small town in the world, privacy basically doesn`t exist, everyone knows who everyone is by sight, and it's not the end of the world. Expanding information and knowledge is, in a way, eliminating privacy.
  • Re:Hot. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DarkKnightRadick ( 268025 ) <> on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @09:28AM (#33354072) Homepage Journal

    This is something I have to be concerned about because if the radiation is that significant, I won't be able to go through them without risking damage (I received the maximum dosage of medical x-rays (e.g. to treat cancer) that I'll ever be able to receive for the rest of my life).

  • Re:Hot. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by captainpanic ( 1173915 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @09:39AM (#33354180)

    On the other hand, if someone suggested imposing manditory x-ray exposure as a means to identify pedophiles, most people would probably suggest positive results be given an extra-high-intensity scan just to confirm it with a clearer image.

    Hell yeah. I'd rather die in horrible agony because of severe overdose of bodyscans than having one peado walking around freely! I'll give up anything (you hear me? ANYTHING!) to catch them dirty bastards. ...

    I'm just waiting until the paedophiles and othre dirty bastards figure that it's probably easiest to simply work for a security company. Pictures and bodyscans all day.

  • by phorwich ( 909601 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @10:04AM (#33354576)
    Interesting, but... The scheme fails to account for the fact that human bones remodel and change shape over time. In fact, the premise appears to count on the fact that people's bones will remain unchanged. It's just not so. The skeleton is a changing organ. More info can be found in this wiki: [] One could imagine a database of "bone information" that is cross-referenced to identity. While it's possible the data would initially be useful, over time the database would become increasingly inaccurate as peoples' bones changed. How often would the authors suggest that people be rescanned to maintain accuracy?
  • by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @10:41AM (#33355116) Journal

    That isn't a problem because the real purpose of this isn't to catch terrorists. It will have "STOPS TERRORISTS AND PEDOPHILES" stamped in glowing letters across the front to obtain funding. Then it will be sold to every idiot with a budget and too much power. Police departments, airports, hell as the article says:

    "It could go anywhere," he said. "It could be in every airport. You could put it in a hotel if it gets down to the right scale and cost."

    It will be used to "catch" people who owe library books and participated in an anti-war demonstration. Poor schmucks who had the misfortune of being caught pissing in an alley behind a bar and labeled sex-offenders will be tackled by mall security guards.

    Also does anyone think there is a problem between this statement:
    "a skeletal scan would only expose a person to radiation that is the approximate equivalent of taking one cross-country airline flight."
    and this one:
    "It could be in every airport. You could put it in a hotel if it gets down to the right scale and cost."

    If this guy gets his wish we'll be scanned each time we enter and leave a store, a mall, a library, a park.

  • by h00manist ( 800926 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @11:03AM (#33355490) Journal
    Let's not be naive, dirty business is mainstream, even if not widely practiced. There are already mass-tracking systems. Of various levels of legality and accessibility, depending on how much law, power, money, access, or friends you have. License plate tracking, credit cards, bank records, cookies, building passes, cameras, on and on. Extra easy to tell where everyone is going or not going combining a few of these. Governments and corporations don`t break the law, they outsource. Somebody gathers lots of stuff and sells it, there is demand and profit, and it just takes place, like it not, legal or not. Just open the phone book and start shopping for detectives or security, say what you want, full confidentiality, pay up, and you're done. It's up to us, the public, to realize and deal with the society we are building. Perhaps another look is needed at why crime dropped so much in the early 90's, to see how much of it was due to the wide availabilty of data on everyone.

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