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- Protecting Biometric data...
August 30, 2005, 5:38 pm
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Re: Protecting Biometric data...
The article discusses modifying biometric data "in a defined way" prior
to storage such that recovering the data is not useful to a thief (in
this case "distorting" facial data). While better than nothing this is
hardly reassuring - if the process is "defined" then its algorithm too
can be stolen.
As for stealing biometric data it's trivial to do. For instance, it is
obviously easy to "harvest" the fingerprints of others. Facial photos,
ditto. Even more worryingly, it is easy to harvest DNA - discarded
cigarette butts are one rich source (or hair sweepings from barber shops,
etc., etc.). The possiblities for "biometric identity theft" are a rich
field that has been little explored to date.
I have long been interested in "spoofing" DNA (only, in principle, mind
you - I am the very model of probity :-) since it is regarded as
unassailable evidence. Harvesting and then cultivating DNA from others
could allow one to plant evidence at a crime scene either to implicate
others, exculpate oneself, or cast severe doubt on the DNA evidence-
gathering and processing process itself.
PS The techniques for processing and spoofing DNA are not trivial - at
least in terms of doing it in a way that is not easily detectable as data
PPS I will discuss the following in the abstract rather than say I've
ever done it :-) but here's an idea. When submitting photos in order to
get, say, a passport, it would be very easy to subtly distort the facial
image (digital processing) such that the data the government collects is
degraded without the distortions being obvious to the naked eye.