They’re not that good:
Security researchers Jesse D’Aguanno and Timo Teräs write that, with varying degrees of reverse-engineering and using some external hardware, they were able to fool the Goodix fingerprint sensor in a Dell Inspiron 15, the Synaptic sensor in a Lenovo ThinkPad T14, and the ELAN sensor in one of Microsoft’s own Surface Pro Type Covers. These are just three laptop models from the wide universe of PCs, but one of these three companies usually does make the fingerprint sensor in every laptop we’ve reviewed in the last few years. It’s likely that most Windows PCs with fingerprint readers will be vulnerable to similar exploits.
Posted on November 29, 2023 at 7:09 AM •
Interesting article on technologies that will automatically identify people:
With technology like that on Mr. Leyvand’s head, Facebook could prevent users from ever forgetting a colleague’s name, give a reminder at a cocktail party that an acquaintance had kids to ask about or help find someone at a crowded conference. However, six years later, the company now known as Meta has not released a version of that product and Mr. Leyvand has departed for Apple to work on its Vision Pro augmented reality glasses.
The technology is here. Maybe the implementation is still dorky, but that will change. The social implications will be enormous.
Posted on September 15, 2023 at 7:15 AM •
Napoleon Gonzalez, of Etna, assumed the identity of his brother in 1965, a quarter century after his sibling’s death as an infant, and used the stolen identity to obtain Social Security benefits under both identities, multiple passports and state identification cards, law enforcement officials said.
A new investigation was launched in 2020 after facial identification software indicated Gonzalez’s face was on two state identification cards.
The facial recognition technology is used by the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles to ensure no one obtains multiple credentials or credentials under someone else’s name, said Emily Cook, spokesperson for the secretary of state’s office.
Posted on August 29, 2023 at 7:03 AM •
In case you don’t have enough to worry about, someone has built a credible handwriting machine:
This is still a work in progress, but the project seeks to solve one of the biggest problems with other homework machines, such as this one that I covered a few months ago after it blew up on social media. The problem with most homework machines is that they’re too perfect. Not only is their content output too well-written for most students, but they also have perfect grammar and punctuation something even we professional writers fail to consistently achieve. Most importantly, the machine’s “handwriting” is too consistent. Humans always include small variations in their writing, no matter how honed their penmanship.
Devadath is on a quest to fix the issue with perfect penmanship by making his machine mimic human handwriting. Even better, it will reflect the handwriting of its specific user so that AI-written submissions match those written by the student themselves.
Like other machines, this starts with asking ChatGPT to write an essay based on the assignment prompt. That generates a chunk of text, which would normally be stylized with a script-style font and then output as g-code for a pen plotter. But instead, Devadeth created custom software that records examples of the user’s own handwriting. The software then uses that as a font, with small random variations, to create a document image that looks like it was actually handwritten.
Watch the video.
My guess is that this is another detection/detection avoidance arms race.
Posted on May 23, 2023 at 7:15 AM •
It’s not actually banned in the EU yet—the legislative process is much more complicated than that—but it’s a step: a total ban on biometric mass surveillance.
To respect “privacy and human dignity,” MEPs said that EU lawmakers should pass a permanent ban on the automated recognition of individuals in public spaces, saying citizens should only be monitored when suspected of a crime.
The parliament has also called for a ban on the use of private facial recognition databases—such as the controversial AI system created by U.S. startup Clearview (also already in use by some police forces in Europe)—and said predictive policing based on behavioural data should also be outlawed.
MEPs also want to ban social scoring systems which seek to rate the trustworthiness of citizens based on their behaviour or personality.
Posted on October 11, 2021 at 7:49 AM •
This is probably worth paying attention to:
Posted on June 14, 2021 at 10:11 AM •
Researchers can detect deep fakes because they don’t convincingly mimic human blood circulation in the face:
In particular, video of a person’s face contains subtle shifts in color that result from pulses in blood circulation. You might imagine that these changes would be too minute to detect merely from a video, but viewing videos that have been enhanced to exaggerate these color shifts will quickly disabuse you of that notion. This phenomenon forms the basis of a technique called photoplethysmography, or PPG for short, which can be used, for example, to monitor newborns without having to attach anything to a their very sensitive skin.
Deep fakes don’t lack such circulation-induced shifts in color, but they don’t recreate them with high fidelity. The researchers at SUNY and Intel found that “biological signals are not coherently preserved in different synthetic facial parts” and that “synthetic content does not contain frames with stable PPG.” Translation: Deep fakes can’t convincingly mimic how your pulse shows up in your face.
The inconsistencies in PPG signals found in deep fakes provided these researchers with the basis for a deep-learning system of their own, dubbed FakeCatcher, which can categorize videos of a person’s face as either real or fake with greater than 90 percent accuracy. And these same three researchers followed this study with another demonstrating that this approach can be applied not only to revealing that a video is fake, but also to show what software was used to create it.
Of course, this is an arms race. I expect deep fake programs to become good enough to fool FakeCatcher in a few months.
Posted on October 1, 2020 at 6:19 AM •
Sound waves through the body are unique enough to be a biometric:
“Modeling allowed us to infer what structures or material features of the human body actually differentiated people,” explains Joo Yong Sim, one of the ETRI researchers who conducted the study. “For example, we could see how the structure, size, and weight of the bones, as well as the stiffness of the joints, affect the bioacoustics spectrum.”
Notably, the researchers were concerned that the accuracy of this approach could diminish with time, since the human body constantly changes its cells, matrices, and fluid content. To account for this, they acquired the acoustic data of participants at three separate intervals, each 30 days apart.
“We were very surprised that people’s bioacoustics spectral pattern maintained well over time, despite the concern that the pattern would change greatly,” says Sim. “These results suggest that the bioacoustics signature reflects more anatomical features than changes in water, body temperature, or biomolecule concentration in blood that change from day to day.”
It’s not great. A 97% accuracy is worse than fingerprints and iris scans, and while they were able to reproduce the biometric in a month it almost certainly changes as we age, gain and lose weight, and so on. Still, interesting.
EDITED TO ADD: This post has been translated into Spanish.
Posted on August 21, 2020 at 6:03 AM •
Coming out of the Privacy Commissioners’ Conference in Albania, Public Voice is launching a petition for an international moratorium on using facial recognition software for mass surveillance.
You can sign on as an individual or an organization. I did. You should as well. No, I don’t think that countries will magically adopt this moratorium. But it’s important for us all to register our dissent.
Posted on October 22, 2019 at 10:12 AM •
Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.