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Encrypted Ammunition?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the really-bad-ideas dept.


holy_calamity writes "A patent has been filed for bullets with built-in encryption. Pulling the trigger sends a radio signal to the cartridge in the chamber, but the charge only goes off if the right encryption key is sent. The aim is to improve civilian firearm security." Not sure I'm quite ready to trust the average techno-gadget failure rate on something like this just yet.

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Re: Bullet encryption (3, Insightful)

jl2704 (985153) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613416)

bult in security for firearms? bullet encryption? sounds like a huge farfetched idea that some capital went to waste on.

Re: Bullet encryption (4, Funny)

cmdr_beeftaco (562067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613478)

Does this mean that the NSA will be able to automatically fire my guns? Don't get me wrong, I like that idea, I just want to know ahead of time.

A big waste, considering the commodity... (4, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613517)

...not to mention that it's rather beyond belief when it comes to folks (like myself) who reload their own hunting and target shooting cartridges (where you take a spent cartridge, measure it for stretch and stability, then replace primer, powder, and bullet. How on Earth is someone going to talk millions of hunters and target shooters into adding a key encryption device to their already expensive repertoire of presses, measurement tools, and cleaning equipment?

Also, given the incredible insecurity of RFID technology, it wouldn't take much to "modify" the things.

To top it off, how is a radio signal of sufficient strength going to get past that much lead? And what's to keep a bank robber or other criminal to carry a small EMP generator to effectively disarm any cop whose pistol is so equipped?

Man, someone wasted a lot of money with that patent...


Re:A big waste, considering the commodity... (4, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613595)

To top it off, how is a radio signal of sufficient strength going to get past that much lead? And what's to keep a bank robber or other criminal to carry a small EMP generator to effectively disarm any cop whose pistol is so equipped?

I will answer these very silly questions in order. (the other stuff, above that, was made up of good points.) First, lead? LEAD? You think the antenna's going to be at the end of the barrel? I think it's going to be wrapped around the ass end of the casing, or might even be the firing pin mechanism itself. Second, EMP? Haha haaHahaHAAHA! Do you have any idea how EMPs are generated, aside from using a nuclear weapon? You have a coil wrapped around a high explosive, you charge the coil with a lot of current, generating a strong magnetic field, and then you detonate the explosive. This causes the magnetic field to collapse simultaneously with the coil being collapsed, causing the field to fluctuate and move very rapidly through neighboring space, thus inducing the currents that destroy things. In part, it is similar in concept to a car's ignition coil. It's not something easily miniaturized, nor affordably carried.

What IS an issue for concern, however, is the ease and low cost of building a HERF device [google.com] . A low-power handheld HERF device was demonstrated at DEFCON, I believe, and was able to shut down computers from some distance.

Re:A big waste, considering the commodity... (4, Funny)

1992 Called (893858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613598)

"where you take a spent cartridge, measure it for stretch and stability, then replace primer, powder, and bullet."

Is there a budgie in here? All I hear is Cheap! Cheap! Cheap!


Re:A big waste, considering the commodity... (5, Interesting)

Odin_Tiger (585113) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613651)

I'd speculate that the idea is going to be more along the lines of only allowing certain bullet types to be fired from certain guns by certain people. For instance, a round specially designed for military or police use could only be fired by a military / police gun, and only if the gun was being operated by a soldier / police officer. Perhaps a 2nd transmitter in a wrist band or ring on a finger, so there are 2 stages of security. Ring ID's with gun ID's with bullet. That way, in the course of an investigation, they could use standard forensics to determine that a certain bullet was fired from a certain gun, and from there have a high level of certainty that the bullet was fired by the officer assigned to that gun.

Re: Bullet encryption (2, Informative)

pi_rules (123171) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613532)

sounds like a huge farfetched idea that some capital went to waste on.
Oh, it is, but there's a market for this stuff.

Three years after a "smart gun" is available on the market citizens of New Jersey won't be able to buy regular mechanical handguns anymore.

Police, of course, are exempt from this restriction.

Re: Bullet encryption (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613558)

Don't you pretty much have to know someone in order to buy a handgun in New Jersey now? Forget about ever being allowed to carry one-- smart gun or not.

Re: Bullet encryption (1)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613555)

sure it does, but it also helps the government to define encryption as a munition!

Re: Bullet encryption (1)

bepe86 (945139) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613616)

DRM for movies, DRM for music. Why not DRM for weapons?

Re: Bullet encryption (2, Interesting)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613630)

Never heard of the Lawgiver Mark III [wikipedia.org] ? What's was previously science fiction is now becoming patentable science fact.

OB Good Old Boy joke (3, Funny)

rueger (210566) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613417)

The final words of many a young gun owner "Hey, watch this!"

Interesting. (5, Funny)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613420)

Do I have to enter an unique 8-digit pincode on the numpad everytime I want to shot too?

Chuck Norris (2, Funny)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613581)

Can you imagine Chuck Norris diving behind a car, punching in his 8 digit pincode, standing up and firing ... ducking back down, punching the 8 digit pincode, then standing up and firing again?

It's becomming obligatory (4, Interesting)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613427)

When will it end? The obvious use will be to somehow keep me from firing my gun. I guess in this situation, civilian safety is the "think of the children" excuse.

I'm tired of it. Just let me shoot my gun.

Re:It's becomming obligatory (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15613573)

>I'm tired of it. Just let me shoot my gun.

Feel free to point it at yourself and fire away.

Can you say "war dialing"? (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613432)

So, the round is no longer fired via firing pin, but instead the gunpower is ignited by a device in the round after that device receives the correct radio signal.

So, now your ammo will have to be protected from radio waves. And the device will have to be small enough to fit into the round yet smart enough to store the signal and check incoming signals.

Is this a joke?

Re:Can you say "war dialing"? (4, Interesting)

awing0 (545366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613542)

Not only that, the gun must know the clip order somehow, else rounds in the clip or your pants/jacket start exploding. At least with a conventional handgun, the bad guy has to wrestle it away from you. There are too many things to go wrong with this. I think fire control should be in the weapon (if at all), not the ammunition.

The fingerprint system and the ID ring system are already working examples of "smart guns". One gun fingerprints you, the other makes sure you are wearing a uniqe ring with some sort of RFID tag in it. These seam to be as simple as an owner-fire-only system you can get.

Re:Can you say "war dialing"? (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613594)

I hope this thing won't be FCC Class B. "This device must accept unwanted interference, which may cause undesired operation."

Press the "talk" button on your Nextel, and BANG!

Re:Can you say "war dialing"? (4, Insightful)

airConditionedGypsy (703864) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613608)

My initial reaction was also one of "wow, that's stupid", but presumably the bullet is fired by a combination of the firing pin (so, the holder of the weapon still has control) plus the radio signal. So, I don't think that guns will spontaneously go off just b/c someone guessed the right key -- you still need to pull the trigger.

Seen the right way, it's classic two-factor authentication.

I am guessing that the "key or signal" is delivered from a device that is perhaps embedded in the handle to read your fingerprints, RFID tag embedded in your wrist, or some other biometric.

Re:Can you say "war dialing"? (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613617)

No, the simple answer is to have a simple switch on the bullet flipped as the round is chambered which "activates" the bullet. Before this switch is flipped, no radio signal will fire the bullet. Of course this means that somehow the switch must be flipped back if the bullet is removed from the chamber without being fired.

Re:Can you say "war dialing"? (2, Interesting)

Kookus (653170) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613626)

I'm sure it still has a mechanical component for fail-safe firing. Like the pin is still used, but only for compeleting a circuit, not actually igniting the fuel.

This is just stupid (4, Insightful)

Nigel_Powers (880000) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613434)

I'm sure the bad guys are going to line up to purchase these pgp bullets.

This is the equivalent of bringing a knife to a gunfight.

Re:This is just stupid (1)

jizziknight (976750) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613645)

Not if you're Frank Castle and the knife is a switchblade with the catch removed.

Judge Dredd? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15613436)

It takes a sample of your DNA and encodes it into the bullet.

it seems to me... (1)

preppypoof (943414) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613437)

...that this system wouldn't really benefit the average citizen who just keeps one around the house for self-defense, other than knowing that your kid won't accidentally shoot himself or someone else.

Re:it seems to me... (1)

Zenaku (821866) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613563)

Which is sort of the point.

Re:it seems to me... (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613635)

other than knowing that your kid won't accidentally shoot himself or someone else.
...a problem already well-solved by gun safes and trigger locks.

Makes me wonder... (1)

bepe86 (945139) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613438)

Makes me wonder if 64-bit WEP-encription is used...

Re:Makes me wonder... (1)

shadow_slicer (607649) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613571)

So what, after they shoot you a few thousand times you can crack the key?

Great ... (1)

1sockchuck (826398) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613440)

Just what we need ... a gun that needs an SSL certificate.

I can see it now... (3, Insightful)

Raxxon (6291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613443)

How long before someone hacks up a device to wideband broadcast random code/garbage in an attempt to make guns discharge themselves before they should?

Imagine if world armies had this kind of hardware... load of fun I'd imagine. No need to drop 10t bombs on heavily fortified installations... Just drop one that has no explosive payload, just LOTS of EM/RF Gear in an attempt to make everyone shoot each other.

Remember Kids! Friendly Fire, Isn't.

Re:I can see it now... (1)

bcat24 (914105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613547)

Even worse, what if someone built a noise generator that operates on the same band the guns use? That would be a disaster. Imagine a bank robber who can remotely (albeit temporarly) disable a security guard's gun.

This could be bad (5, Interesting)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613445)

The first thoughts that came to my head were these.
"Can it be jammed so it doesn't fire?"
"What happens if some random radio noise hits and and set it off?"
"What happens if you aim enough random radio noise at say, an ammo supply room, that could potentially be bad."

Aluminum or Tin (1)

Dareth (47614) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613446)

Which kind of foil would I need to line my ammunition storage box with to keep someone from setting them all off as a joke?

Problem can be them going off when you don't want as much as not when you do!

Re:Aluminum or Tin (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613619)

Isn't your ammo box already made of steel?

You know... (5, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613447)

...I think that with firearms, this is the ONE aread I don't think I want any technological saftey restraints on. I want to keep it mechanical. I want it to shoot immediately at what I aim at. I virus, bug or whatever that causes firing errors at the wrong time can be a life or death thing.

That and if this type thing is installed...what would prevent the govt. from programming no weapons to fire at THEM? I'm still holding on to a sliver of hope that a well armed citizenry is a slight barrier to a completely totalitarian govt. in the future...

Re:You know... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15613583)

That barrier will NOT be with fire arms, that barrier will be with bombs. And you can make bombs out of pretty much anything.

Re:You know... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15613632)

"I'm still holding on to a sliver of hope that a well armed citizenry is a slight barrier to a completely totalitarian govt. in the future..."

You are really naive, aren't you ?

The government has helicopter gunships, tanks, LAW rockets ( as well as other weapons they aren't disclosing just yet ).

And you think that you and your guns have a chance of success ? You're just kidding yourself.

Remember Waco, and what the bastards did there ? End of story.

Let me point out that I wish things were not like they are, but only a fool ignores reality.

Brings a new meaning to IKE "aggressive mode" (1)

Zondar (32904) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613450)

I can see it now, crypto engineers called out to the battlefield to diagnose problems with weapons not firing...

Imagine the possibilities... (4, Funny)

BigZaphod (12942) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613452)

... for a lawyer after the bullet either A) doesn't work when it is supposed to in a life or death situation or, B) ends up working just fine even in a gun that wasn't authorized for it. Our society just keeps finding more and more interesting ways to keep lawyers employed!

Coming Soon!!! (5, Funny)

JL-b8 (862188) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613453)

DIY Linux server on a Saw'd off!

Guns don't kill people... (4, Funny)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613456)

...but hackers who hack bullets do!

bullets (1)

merizos (985082) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613459)

I'm sure there will be a crack with in days....

An extension to that idea.. (3, Interesting)

onion2k (203094) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613464)

I imagine that, with a relatively simple modification, you could have bullets that can only be fired in a particular building eg a gun club.

Que 2nd amendment rants in 5..4..3..2.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15613466)

Side note: Anybody remember that awful movie staring everyone's midget toughguy Stalone? All bullets fired from his gun were encoded with his DNA as they were fired.

Law enforcement first!!! (2, Insightful)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613577)

The idea of traceable ammo and secure guns has been around a while.. the whole "only criminals need guns" thing. OF Course if you ARE exercising your "4th box" rights, being labeled criminal has already happened. I think if these are so great, let's see a law to have all civilan cops [local, state, fbi, cia, nsa, etc] use these first.. and lets throw in a public database of registered keyholders. I'm sure if this is so great, Law enforcement will jump first. after all, what officer wants to be shot with is own gun.. it still happens often you know.. .gotta think of the officer's kids and all. After all, the last school shooting was done by a kid of a cop carrying his granparents weapon.. so law enforcement is a logical place to start.

Oops. (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613468)

Ignoring for the moment the endless possibilities of deliberate outside interference with something like this...

Considering the hideous buzzng my PC speakers do just before my mobile phone rings, the jarring interruption of terrestrial radio by the odd trucker with a CB, and the amount of retail anti-shoplifting gates my job's keycard sets off.. thanks but no thanks.

Just Gun Control with Encryption! (3, Insightful)

Mullen (14656) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613473)

Yep, a neat idea, but really, just Gun Control with Encryption. How do I know the Government do not have the encryption keys and some how they don't disable my bullets when they want? There are much better methods of gun safety that are not this complex.

Here are the only ways I am ever going to use this, if the police and the bad guys do it first. As soon as the police and criminals sign up for Gun Control, I will.

Did the receptor of the bullet (4, Funny)

denisbergeron (197036) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613474)

have to provide a secure key to be hit by the bullet ?

Two great tastes that taste great together! (1, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613475)

"When crypto is outlawed, bayl bhgynjf jvyy unir thaf!"
"Huh? You cypherpunks got your first amendment in my second amendment!"

"Jura thaf ner bhgynjrq, only outlaws will have crypto!"
"And you gun nuts got your second amendment in my first amendment!"

Two great tastes that taste great together...

Get Tough on Crime (5, Funny)

joebok (457904) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613476)

Since locking people up for violent crimes isn't solving the problem, I guess that a better approach would be to reclassify things like armed robbery and murder as DMCA violations - then we'd have the full weight of the RIAA on our side for a change...

Re:Get Tough on Crime (1)

bcat24 (914105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613513)

Wouldn't that be cruel and unusual punishment?

Sort of misses the point (4, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613483)

Why would I buy ammunition that's designed to fail to shoot sometimes?

We can look forward to Swordfish II (1)

podperson (592944) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613484)

Where the hero decrypts a bullet that is speeding from a bad guy's gun towards his head while being fellated.

Fine by me as long as... (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613486)

It can run Linux. :)

Growing up with electronics. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15613492)

> Not sure I'm quite ready to trust the average techno-gadget failure rate on something like this just yet.

I doubt these would be shitty consumer grade electronics you are used to.

And no, they won't run Real Time Linux.

Guns. (1, Flamebait)

celardore (844933) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613493)

The best way to prevent accidental firing of a gun is to outlaw them completely, like here in the UK. Many Americans cite the first ammendment and their right to defend themselves, and sure people should have a right to defend themselves. If it's hard for just anyone to get a gun though, then you're less likely to be defending yourself against a gun. Whatever happened to "putting up your dukes".

Re:Guns. (2, Insightful)

tmccann (775221) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613544)

When guns are illegal, only criminals will have guns.

Re:Guns. (2, Insightful)

BitGeek (19506) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613576)

Except after outlawing them, Gun violence went up dramatically in the UK. See, the thing y'all haven't figured out is, criminals-- you know, the ones we want protection from-- thy don't follow the law. All the UK has done is make the innocent people defenseless.

Generally, in areas with more guns, there is less crime.

Re:Guns. (1)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613652)

On a smaller scale, Chicago has had this problem for decades. Private ownership of firearms is almost completely illegal within the city, yet gun crime is common. Every time there is a high profile murder, the same idiots call for yet more gun laws. How much more illegal can guns be, yet they are still easy for criminals to get. I'd love to know what's inside the head of those people who think that banning guns will just make them go away.

Re:Guns. (1)

Ed_Pinkley (881113) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613585)

Here is one reason: "Putting up your dukes" does not work equally well for the weak/sick/small. Those people should have the same ability to defend themselves as the strong/healthy/big.

Re:Guns. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15613587)

Gun control, the theory that 110lb. women should have to fistfight with 210lb. rapists.

Re:Guns (2, Insightful)

Who235 (959706) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613604)

First of all, it's the Second Amendment.

Secondly, criminals don't care about laws - that's what makes them criminals.

Finally, I will not live in a country where the only people allowed to have guns are the police and the military. That's a recipie for disaster.

The Second Amendment is what makes the protection of our other rights possible.


Re:Guns. (2, Informative)

LeonardsLiver (885268) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613623)

It's the second ammendment, not the first.

Put up your dukes? What if it's just your dukes against 10 or 20 dukes? What if it's your dukes against a knife? Dukes versus a baseball bat? What if you're ill, weak, elderly, etc...?

Gun control is a failure. In states that have allowed citizens to obtain concealed carry permits, violent crime has gone down markedly. I site the following snippet from Wikipedia as evidence. Feel free to go to the site & check the references yourself.

"The FBI's statistics in the 1992 Uniform Crime Report also concluded: "Violent crime rates are highest overall in states with laws limiting or prohibiting the carrying of concealed firearms for self-defense." [1] "The FBI's data also show that in 20 other states that issue CCW permits (including Arizona, Washington, Oregon, Tennessee, Wyoming, and others), these states have enjoyed a REDUCTION in crime as follows: 1) Violent crime rates are LOWER by 21%. 2) Homicide rates are LOWER by 33% 3) Robbery rates are LOWER by 37% and 4) Aggravated assaults are lower by 13%."[2]"

Re:Guns. (1)

awing0 (545366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613642)

Even without guns your government needs to have cameras on every corner and every highway. And we all know that making something illegal makes it magically dissapear too. Thanks, but no thanks.

Re:Guns. (1)

TerminaMorte (729622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613649)

The problem is that the cat is already out of the bag.

It's not hard for people to get guns now, and there are so many in circulation that it's not feasible to outlaw them. Even if honest citizens did turn them in (and by honest, I mean people willing to give up rights they're taken for granted for their entire life), there would be far too many guns still out there for people to be safe.

So yeah, your idea works, assuming that all guns magically disappear. Good solution.

i can see it now (1)

whistl (234824) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613498)

"Stop! Dammit, my pistol crashed!"

Will the pistol's have to run Windows? How long of a pause will you have to wait, while the weapon logs into MSN and checks your email and get authorization from Bill's Boys between every trigger pull.

Fun (1)

Dorion caun Morgul (851570) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613502)

Put one of these on a table and zap if with your laptop's wifi!

Chris Rock is happy (5, Funny)

ndansmith (582590) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613505)

Someone finally made a bullet that costs $5,000.

2nd amendment (1)

jollyroger1210 (933226) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613509)

the right to bear (encrypted) arms? WTF!

Bad guys will wait (2, Insightful)

brufar (926802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613511)

I'm sure if you ask the bad guy he'll give you a minute to punch in your code so you can protect yourself..

Gizmos aren't the answer, proper education and securing your firearms are. an no I wouldn't rush out to pay a premium for that functionality. When not in use I properly secure my Firearms in a safe, use a trigger lock, locked case or whatever measure is appropriate for the situation.

I'm an avid fan of shooting sports: Skeet, Trap, CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program), Action Pistol, Black Powder, etc.. etc.. Many of us reload our own ammunition to help keep costs down, since we go through so much ammunition in the course of an event. This silly 'invention' would make the ammo cost so much it would be difficult to afford. It would also prevent re-loaders from being able to load their own ammunition.

Oh gee I brought the wrong ammo for this firearm looks like I am stuck, and won't be able to participate today..

A technological crutch is no replacement for education, and owner responsibility

Re:Bad guys will wait (1)

pluther (647209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613601)

This silly 'invention' would make the ammo cost so much it would be difficult to afford.

My guess is, that's the point.
Likely, it's the point of a lot of firearm regulation.
At least, it doesn't seem to have much other effect.

interesting idea from this (1)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613512)

If a shooter wished to anonymize their weapon, perhaps they could change their barrel signature randomly. In this sense, the ammunition would become encrypted with respect to the gun from which it's fired -- police might not be able to trace it back.

Smart Guns` (1)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613514)

Don't they already have in development guns that won't operate without the correct thumb scan? I mean, come on we all knwo that Judge Dredd has prior art on smart guns that work on dna, and encode the amunition with the shooters dna signature.

I would rather have a gun that beeps, or lights, or does something when I hold it...that way when I press the trigger I won'get an erro which you know could mean I don't shoot the guy trying to shoot me...Talk about BSOD.

Re:Smart Guns` (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613647)


It's not even a difficult modification to the fire arm.

Someone in my college actually stuffed an embedded controller into the stock of his gun, wired up a servo to the firing pin and wrote an auth program based around an iButton.

If the rifle did not recieve an auth attempt in X minutes, it would lock the firing pin. It could also limit the number of rounds fired and various other little accounting tricks.

It's not difficult nor impossible to defeat the security, but little can stand in the way of a determined individual.

Skirted! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15613521)

It will not prevent the bad guys to use old firearms in a nasty way. Will they retire all the AK-47 in the world as well to protect us? This gadget has simply no real purpose and does not bring any more security. Upcoming next: encrypted knives, you cannot cut your bread without the explicit code key.

Delay ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15613522)

Even if there was just a split second delay, could you still hit your target ?

It would be like taking a picture of something moving with a cheap-o digital camera.

There's already a simpler solution. (1, Interesting)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613535)

I presume this is to keep unauthorized people from firing your gun, in particular burglars and children. It seems to me they are overcomplicating the matter greatly.

There is already a good system in place that just needs a little improving. I have heard for years about the pistols that won't fire unless they sense the microchip to which they are encoded. This is usually embedded in a ring. Not too long ago I read that someone had developed a pistol grip that sensed palm prints.

I can't read TFA (content filter ate it) but it seems to describe a system by which every bullet must be its own safety. I see no practical uses for this technology when the simple solution is to have the gun do that job. There is a lot more room for components in the firearm itself, why waste time and money trying to secure the bullets?

Bad idea (2, Insightful)

cosinezero (833532) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613539)

1 - Adding crucial seconds to a reload is not going to increase sales of a firearm. 2 - What's saying the government doesn't demand the keys, or insist on a shutdown key sequence? That'd put an end to the 2nd amendment right there - if the government can just jam the guns of every 'insurgent' 'terrorist' cum future patriot, then who cares what the peasants own? 3 - More children die each year drowning in swimming pools... but you don't see pgp-protected ingrounds, do you?

how about put data on the bullet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15613540)

Next we will be able to encrypt a data set and encode it onto the bullet shot. This data set could be... oh I don't know, the DNA of the person that shot it.
Then we can switch to a law system where the police officers are the judge, jury, and executioner.

Now all we need to do is firgure out a way to freeze Sylvester Stallone [imdb.com] until this is all ready.

P.S. an interesting side note. while searching for Judge Dredd [imdb.com] on IMDB, I typed it as judge dread. Try it out; it is funny.

sounds good (-1, Flamebait)

russellh (547685) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613549)

for your cabinet full of target shooting and hunting guns. And anything that reduces the number of bullets fired is fine with me, in general, of course. It sounds like for your defensive weapon you'd have to practice enough that entering the passcode would be second nature. better to have more practice handling your gun than less.

But I have a simpler, safer solution: lose your gun altogether. I think every time a kid is killed by a stray bullet we raise a tax on guns and gun owners. You can get all of that money back with interest if you get rid of your gun. Eventually gun owners will see that it is in their own best interest to work together to make guns safer and out of the hands of kids and the irresponsible. Everyone who owns a gun is partly responsible for the culture of guns and violence. I'm looking at you, libertarians.

Layered Security (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613550)

There's no reason this can't be combined with more traditional safety devices. It's just one more layer. In any case, a safe gun user knows not to fully trust any safety device, and to treat every gun like it's loaded.

As for jamming or remote firing, the signal, as I understad it, is very short range (inches, at most). You should be able to add EMI shielding with little extra weight or cost.

Gotta pick that low-hanging fruit... (0)

Crash Culligan (227354) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613560)

Now imagine a beowulf cluster of these (i.e. autofire).

i saw this on tv (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15613561)

its sorta related, but not.. i saw it on the history channel


ok this gun has a built in computer/circuit where it identifies the shooter by this ring that gives off a radio signal. if someone tries to use it and they dont have the ring that gives them authorization, the gun disables itself. that sounds nice, but what if two large males ambushed a female officer. they grab her gun, disable it, grab her night stick then proceed to beat her with it.

That is such a dumb idea (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15613562)

If you ask anyone who is an expert on handguns and self-defense, "what is the most important quality in a defensive handgun", they will tell you, "having it with you when you need it is the most important thing. Second is reliability." Most gun experts hate simple things like magazine disconnects because they prevent the gun from firing when the user pulls the trigger. And now they want to introduce all this electronics and encryption? Plenty of gun owners won't put any type of electronis on guns, like sights or lasers, because they are not reliable enough.

And it's not like criminals get their guns through legal sources anyway. They're already moving tons of drugs into the country every year. They already move thousands of guns in every year. Are they suddenly going to start installing all this circuitry into their illegal guns?

http://californiaccw.org/ [californiaccw.org]

For the Iraqi militias (1)

DanTheLewis (742271) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613570)

We give a few million of these guns away.

When the civil war starts, we broadcast the failsafe, and peace breaks out when the guns don't fire. A decade later, every family in Iraq will have a garden fork attached to the end of the rusty barrel, and Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds will join hands in a magnificent circle.

Are you sure? (4, Funny)

saphena (322272) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613579)

Surely all that would be needed is a simple dialog box with [Yes] [No] and [Cancel] buttons over the question "Are you sure?", perhaps with a little warning about how dangerous guns are, every time the trigger is pulled.

With a larger screen and maybe a soundcard, it could popup a paperclip asking "I think you're trying to kill someone, would you like some help?"

If I were a criminal... (1)

Slovenian6474 (964968) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613586)

I'll be sure not to steal these bullets.

When will people learn??? (1)

TheAtomicElec (784987) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613588)

Gun control does not work. The concept is fundamentally flawed. Outlawing guns does not make civilians fundamentally safer... It simply means that no law abiding citizen will own a firearm. When only criminals have guns, crime rates go up. Why? Criminals make choices and decisions just like other people (most of the time). If they are afraid doing X may cause them to get shot, the chances of them deciding to do X decrease.

We should learn from Canada's past mistakes [chron.com] and stop trying to control guns. Those who wish to hurt others will always find a mean to do so, so please stop trying to remove an important line of defense from the hands of law-abiding citizens.

Accidental firing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15613597)

To all those speculating about how this thing could be fired accidentally via RF interference, I propose that it shouldn't be too hard to devise a hardware interlock such that it's physically impossible for the cartridge to be activated by a radio signal unless the trigger is also depressed.

Non-obvious accuracy impact. (1)

j. andrew rogers (774820) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613605)

One obvious (to me) problem would be the amount of time that passes between pulling the trigger and the round firing. For the purposes of accuracy, you want this time to be as small as possible. For normal mechanical lock mechanisms, shaving a millisecond off the "lock time" is a big deal. This RF authenticator has to be very fast AND have a constant time authentication, otherwise it would significantly reduce the practical accuracy of the firearm. Any decent implementation needs to have a sub-millisecond authentication cycle if they want it to be transparent, and I wonder how difficult it would be to actually achieve those latencies in an inexpensive and reliable system.

Firearm accidents galore! (1)

ExtraT (704420) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613606)

The inventor of this crap thinks the accidents are bad enough today. Wait and see what kind of accidents will happen with his invention!

Modern firearm safety is not a technical challange - it's a human challange. It is too easy to get a firearm in the states nowadays and because of that firearms are bought by people that have no use for it. The soultion is to institue a system of training/certification prior to buying a firearm. This will both eliminate casual buyers and improve firearm safety among users.
When I say "safety" I mean safety in all of it's aspects, including storage and rules of engagement.

remote jamming (1)

chadseld (761331) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613607)

A radio signal!!! I think the idea is to let the police can jam my gun using a radio dish before the send in SWAT.

Don't forget to put your gun on the charger (1)

CokeJunky (51666) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613618)

Serious shooters would never buy one.

First of all, that means you need bateries for your gun. While I am assuming that the primary market here are handguns, you have to take into account that batteries don't work in the cold very well, and it is one more point of failure. Heaven help the cop that forgot to put his gun on the charger last night.

Secondly, if you did have one, and someone else got it, chances are it was loaded or stored near ammunition coded for it. (hopefully seperatly locked up, but a safe won't stop anyone who is targetting your collection anyways.)

I suppose that could be combined with an RFID ring to activate/deactivate the gun (ok, now atleast if someone grabs it off you, they can't fire it immediatly -- but the rfid ring already did that.)

Finally, in a real fire fight, sharing ammunition is now impossible or very slow. There is a reason why police forces and militaries issue and do their best to require that everone caries compatible equipment -- parts, service, and supplies (inc. ammo) are all easier and cheaper to provide.

So, it sounds like a neat idea, but really it is completly stupid and useless, and the only way it would be adopted is if governments required that kind of technology... Which could happen with a few careful campaign donations, astro turfing, lobyists, etc. Such laws would then grant the company pushing the technology a license to print money -- which of course could happen.

I mean really, why bother?

Sci-fi becoming real (1)

Skidge (316075) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613629)

This sounds sci-fi becoming real sci. John Scalzi's [scalzi.com] recent books, Old Man's War [amazon.com] and The Ghost Brigades [amazon.com] , feature weapons that are uniquely tied to their owners such that no body else can fire them. I'm sure many other sci-fi books have similar types of weapons. Now they just need to come up with the shape-changing nanobot ammunition.

Very stupid.... (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613634)

Whether to allow citizens access to guns or not is one question. But a gun should be reliable. An this adds one more single point of failure: The battery in the gun. No juice, no RF signal, no firing the gun. And if somebody fires a gun, then it is pretty damn important that it works.

All-around stupid from an engineering POV.

Oblig. Zardoz (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613640)

"The gun is good. The penis is evil. The penis shoots seeds, and makes new life to poison the earth with a plague of men, as once it was. But the gun shoots death, and purifies the earth of the filth of brutals. Go forth... and kill!"
There was a time I had this in my sig.

Finger as circumvention device? (1)

TheConfusedOne (442158) | more than 8 years ago | (#15613643)

(Yeah, it doesn't work, but...)
Would this mean Bugs' old "stick the finger in to keep gun from shooting" routine would violate the DMCA?
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