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Gaze-Tracking Software Protects Computer Privacy

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the shoulder-surfer-wipeout dept.

Privacy 134

Ponca City, We Love You writes "Two years ago computer security expert Bill Anderson read about scientific research on how the human eye moves as it reads and processes text and images. 'This obscure characteristic... suddenly struck me as (a solution to) a security problem,' says Anderson. With the help of a couple of software developers, Anderson developed a software program called Chameleon that tracks a viewer's gaze patterns and only allows an authorized user to read text on the screen, while everyone else sees gibberish. Chameleon uses gaze-tracking software and camera equipment to track an authorized reader's eyes to show only that one person the correct text. After a 15-second calibration period in which the software learns the viewer's gaze patterns, anyone looking over that user's shoulder sees dummy text that randomly and constantly changes. To tap the broader consumer market, Anderson built a more consumer-friendly version called PrivateEye, which can work with a simple Webcam to blur a user's monitor when he or she turns away. It also detects other faces in the background, and a small video screen pops up to alert the user that someone is looking at the screen. 'There have been inventions in the space of gaze-tracking. There have been inventions in the space of security,' says Anderson. 'But nobody has put the two ideas together, as far as we know.'"

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134 comments

Flat screens! (2, Funny)

NineNine (235196) | more than 4 years ago | (#28614679)

I thought we already had this technology, and it was called "flat screen" technology. I swear I'm not a crotchety old man, but I can't stand flat screen monitors/TV's/laptops. All of them have this same effect, when compared to the bright, clear, viewable-from-any-direction CRT's. I don't care much for saving a few inches in depth, so I try to use CRT's whenever I can, because unless you're sitting directly in front and center of a flat screen anything, it's very difficult to read.

Re:Flat screens! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28614817)

Wow, did you base that all on the flat monitors you saw in 1989?

Re:Flat screens! (5, Interesting)

Enleth (947766) | more than 4 years ago | (#28614851)

Does this still bother you, even with today's LCDs? I'm currently sitting at the side of my desk, typing this on a laptop, and I can read the text just fine on either of the two Dell 1905FP LCDs at the center of my desk, with one about 40cm away at a 45deg angle and the other about 80cm away at a 70deg angle. Both are displaying 12pt black-on-white antialiased text (PDFs) at 90dpi.

Re:Flat screens! (1)

Kazin (3499) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615245)

I've got some 1905FP's also, and they're great. But all of the new stuff we're buying lately have the viewing angle problem, some WAY worse than others.

My company does visual effects too, so the color-shifting effect is really frustrating for the artists.

Re:Flat screens! (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615469)

Try using most types of laptop display. They have some very narrow viewing angles if you want things to look okay.

Side to side isn't nearly as bad as up and down. The laptop I'm using (HP Pavilion dv9572) has a decent side to side angle, but if I reposition myself in the chair (moving it up/down or slumping/straightening my back) I have to readjust the display to get the proper look.

And from what I understand, others are desperately seeking quality displays as well [anandtech.com] .

Re:Flat screens! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28616311)

And your point is? I think this is a great idea. There are lots of times when I don't want someone seeing what I am reading or writing on my computer/laptop.

Re:Flat screens! (1)

citizenr (871508) | more than 4 years ago | (#28618383)

Does this still bother you, even with today's LCDs? I'm currently sitting at the side of my desk, typing this on a laptop, and I can read the text just fine on either of the two Dell 1905FP LCDs at the center of my desk, with one about 40cm away at a 45deg angle and the other about 80cm away at a 70deg angle. Both are displaying 12pt black-on-white antialiased text (PDFs) at 90dpi.

today YES. You are using old LCDs with Samsung PVA panels. Great angles on those. Today almost EVERYTHING is TN and sucks. Only top of the line stuff at 2-3x the price is SPVA/SMVA/SIPS.

Re:Flat screens! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28614911)

Get an IPS panel LCD instead of a cheap TN panel LCD. Costs more, but looks much better.

Re:Flat screens! (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615419)

Maybe that was the case 5 or so years ago, but I can read my LCDs both at work (Dell 19") and at home (Samsung 24") from distance and from quite good angles. I'd suggest getting an eye test, and not just for long or short sightedness. You might have a degenerative condition that can be solved with laser therapy [slashdot.org] .

In all seriousness, there is no reason to use a CRT in this day and age. The size, energy efficiency, contrast ratios, etc, of CRT monitors makes for a less than practical display.

Re:Flat screens! (3, Insightful)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615673)

It's all about the quality of the monitor. Cheap LCDs are lousy just like cheap CRTs were lousy - they just fail in different ways. Shop around and you can find a flat panel with a good viewing angle as well as decent color reproduction.

Re:Flat screens! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28616175)

Most LCDs use cheap TN panels with comparatively awful color reproduction and viewing angles. It can be a bit more difficult to find a nice display (the non-TN type), but the quality is certainly much nicer and more comparable to "classic" CRTs.

Ok? (3, Insightful)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 4 years ago | (#28614681)

So what happens when you are typing and listening to music, you head is swinging back and forth to the beat? Will the gaze thingy be able to follow or will you pass in and out of it's "verified" zone?

Perhaps it would do better to map your face like they do at gambling casinos. Then if it sees anyone other than your face, it takes corrective action.

Re:Ok? (5, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 4 years ago | (#28614885)

typing and listening to music, you head is swinging back and forth to the beat

Exactly! This is gonna be a big problem for Stevie Wonder - oh wait...

Re:Ok? (1)

memnock (466995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615277)

what if i've perfected sleeping with my head up and eyes up at my desk to fool my boss? how does it identify the dull gaze?

Re:Ok? (1)

JobyOne (1578377) | more than 4 years ago | (#28614969)

-Gaze- tracking, not head tracking.

It's watching your pupils, not your whole head.

Re:Ok? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28615107)

As the parent said, if your head is moving, that means your gaze is moving as well. Is it gaze tracking going to be able to track the movements of your head, i.e. the movements of our eyes going from side to side.

Re:Ok? (1)

auLucifer (1371577) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615311)

This sounds like a major government application. Could you imagine someone in a position to read a top secret document bopping along as they read? Then again. How hard is it to keep your head still while you read a document while listening to music? This is a non-issue.

Re:Ok? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615659)

> This is a non-issue.

I know people for whom it would be serious issue if they were literate enough to read anything more complex than a stop sign. Some of them are managers.

Re:Ok? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28615263)

"Hey, could you help me find the bug in my code?"

"Ummmm....it looks like you just have gibberish."

Re:Ok? (1)

Starlon (1492461) | more than 4 years ago | (#28616523)

This reminds me of a fellow student in one of my programming classes. I was working on my homework in the computer lab, left to use the restroom, came back and got back to work. Shortly after the other student asked if I could help him with his homework. I took one look at it and I knew without a doubt it was my homework, which he had mutilated in an attempt to make it his own (gibberish). Needless to say, I grabbed my things and went straight to the CS department's chair about the issue. If he hadn't asked for help, he and I both would have been dinged for plagiarism. I don't know what happened with the other student. He continued attending classes, so it must not have been too bad. I asked that he not be punished for it.

Re:Ok? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28615431)

There is a commercial product that does precisely this from a company called (I think) Occulus systems that works with MS office. Rather than blurring, it swaps out words except where you are looking. Very cool.

Re:Ok? (1)

Annorax (242484) | more than 4 years ago | (#28616545)

This works until someone makes a mask of your face, puts it on, and then browses your bank account information.

Worse yet, someone cuts off your head and props it up on your joystick while they browse...

I prefer the idea of measuring something that isn't so easily duplicated like gaze-tracking!

Re:Ok? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28618215)

I like to use sunglasses while at the computer because I'm cool, will it work for me?

Just like the Matrix! (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28614685)

That sounds pretty cool, it would be a bit like "reading" the matrix. I guess you would get over the distraction of text you're not looking at turning into garbage and start to tune it out.

Does anyone know of a video of this software in action, I'd love to see what it looks like.

Re:Just like the Matrix! (1)

nobodylocalhost (1343981) | more than 4 years ago | (#28614779)

I don't even see the code anymore, all I see are blondes, brunettes, redheads...

Re:Just like the Matrix! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28615437)

Idiot.

Re:Just like the Matrix! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28616693)

I don't even see the code anymore, all I see are blondes, brunettes, redheads...

That's funny, all I see are trees, goats, nazis...

Re:Just like the Matrix! (1)

canonymous (1445409) | more than 4 years ago | (#28617775)

I don't even see the code anymore, all I see are blondes, brunettes, redheads...

That's what happens when you stop using Lynx as your porn browser!

misread headline (1)

ocularDeathRay (760450) | more than 4 years ago | (#28614719)

am I the only one that did a double take thinking we were geezer-tracking?

Re:misread headline (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#28614995)

am I the only one that did a double take thinking we were geezer-tracking?

Why would you do a double-take? We ARE geezer-tracking [slashdot.org] .

Furthermore, how did you continue to read the title/summary if you did a double-take? Wouldn't that have thrown off your gaze-tracking security software and scrambled the page for you?

No need to recognize gaze (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28614733)

All I need is software that will recognize the approach of the boss -- easily discernible by his pointy hair.

or you can just add a privacy screen (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#28614745)

I don't know. Just seems simpler to me.

Perhaps this technology might be useful elsewhere.

Re:or you can just add a privacy screen (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28614827)

Have you actually, say, worked with a privacy screen? The ones which have been foisted upon me suck. That and, oh, yeah, they don't work with laptops. However, an even sweeter rendition would be focus follows gaze, particularly for X11 and the random desktop environments. Then instead of wiggling the mouse every time I switch screens, I could just type where I'm looking. Obviously, it should hold the focus and let me keep typing if I'm still typing when I look away.

Re:or you can just add a privacy screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28614873)

3Ms work fine with laptops.

Re:or you can just add a privacy screen (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615705)

Look away where? Off the screen? elsewhere on the screen? What happens when you're reading reference docs and typing code at the same time? It's a neat idea but there are some edge cases that will be really frustrating if you don't handle them properly. I'm frequently looking at other things on my screen and I only rarely want them to have focus.

Re:or you can just add a privacy screen (1)

fizzding (1171839) | more than 4 years ago | (#28617345)

That sounds like an actual use for the CAPSLOCK key to me... A simple toggle switch to turn focus tracking on or off.

Technology vs People Problems (4, Insightful)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 4 years ago | (#28614757)

If your workers are handling sensitive material maybe you shouldn't have them in a cubicle with their back to the entrance.

Re:Technology vs People Problems (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#28616277)

Yes. And they should never be on an airplane and try to get work done, or in a coffee shop, or anything like that. I mean, it's never critical to send an email before the deadline, is it?

Hell... what if you just want to read some shitty porn or do your taxes or banking or something and don't want people shoulder surfing? Isn't that a good enough reason to protect your privacy?

OMG PONIES!......oh wait it's turning into text! (1)

S7urm (126547) | more than 4 years ago | (#28614775)

Just kidding

I think this is actually going to be a REALLY big deal. Especially if they can prove that the eye signatures are truly one of a kind in regards to individuals specific patterns. If this is along the same vain as fingerprints in relation to scarcity, then you may now be reading of what could eventually make things like the need for encryption, or even some forms of basic information security obsolete. That is a BIG frickin deal, and may in fact be of such importance that you may see security/encryption companies try to squash this before it could ever become something more than just an idea.

I think this is definetly something worth keeping an eye on (sorry for the pun)

Re:OMG PONIES!......oh wait it's turning into text (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#28616283)

Eye signatures? Doubtful. But it provides security once you've logged in. That's a fairly big deal itself.

Re:OMG PONIES!......oh wait it's turning into text (1)

WNight (23683) | more than 4 years ago | (#28616507)

Of course it's a password I'll be able to steal simply by watching you read.

more inexpensive solution (4, Interesting)

davek (18465) | more than 4 years ago | (#28614781)

With regard to over-the-shoulder power, I bought by first CHIMP in 98. Can't work without it.

http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/accessories/2940/ [thinkgeek.com]

Re:more inexpensive solution (2, Informative)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615239)

You do know that if you go to an auto parts store you can get almost the exact same thing for a hell of a lot less don't you?

Re:more inexpensive solution (2, Funny)

ScoLgo (458010) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615501)

"Resurrect the Cult of VI"

I don't get it. Is this 'VI' you refer to some minor demon that is 0.009009 as evil as the beast?

Oh, what's that? You're not 'Roman' Catholic?

Re:more inexpensive solution (2, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615503)

With regard to over-the-shoulder power, I bought by first CHIMP in 98. Can't work without it.

I use a clear piece of plastic, like half of a CD case with the insert removed. Stick it on a shelf near the monitor and with the right angle it is just as good for detecting someone behind your back, but since it is not an obvious mirror, they won't know that you know they are there. I've freaked out a number of people with my 'psychic' ability to detect someone standing at the door to my office while looking the other way and with the music blasting on my headphones.

Gaze-Tracking Software (4, Funny)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 4 years ago | (#28614799)

This gaze-tracking software will hurt the US military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Re:Gaze-Tracking Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28615109)

From TFA:
 

The goatse image is flashed subliminally on the screen several times per second. Extreme attentiveness to the screen indicates the presence of teh gaze.

I smell venture capital PR (5, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#28614811)

TFA's description of the technology contains a bit of hand-waving:

Chameleon uses gaze-tracking software and camera equipment to track an authorized reader's eyes

Check, that's doable now.

to show only that one person the correct text.

How? Elfin magic? If a screen region under the "authorized reader's" field of view is displaying the protected content to the authorized reader, it's also displaying exactly the same thing to anyone else who happens to be looking at the same area.

So far as I can tell, this is the part of the proof labeled "Magic happens here". Also known as the part of the technology that needs more investment. So invest now!

Where's my flying car, dammit?

Re:I smell venture capital PR (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#28614871)

it's also displaying exactly the same thing to anyone else who happens to be looking at the same area.

That's why it pops up a screen alerting you that it sees another pair of eyes behind you as you are reading.

This prevents other people from looking at your monitor while you are away, not while you are there reading it.

And I only read the summary. :)

Re:I smell venture capital PR (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 4 years ago | (#28614877)

Read the part where it shows random text everywhere else. It's probably just meant to buy you time to tell any shoulder-surfers to fuck off.

Re:I smell venture capital PR (1)

jayme0227 (1558821) | more than 4 years ago | (#28614997)

I guess the important part of your argument is "to anyone else who happens to be looking at the same area."

Because the screen shows constantly changing random words, it would be difficult for someone approaching your screen to figure out exactly which point on the screen you were looking at. Plus, if you moved your eyes at all, the unauthorized viewer would have to figure out which new point on the screen to watch. Because of this, it would be extremely difficult (although not impossible) for anyone to figure out exactly what you were reading unless they were standing right over your shoulder.

Overall, though, it would probably make more sense, and be cheaper, to avoid working on your private material where other people can see your screen.

Re:I smell venture capital PR (1)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615085)

and if I'm looking at boobies, it will show constantly changing, random boobies, so it would difficult for someone approaching the screen to figure out exactly which boobies on the screen I was looking at.

Re:I smell venture capital PR (2)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 4 years ago | (#28616501)

and if I'm looking at boobies, it will show constantly changing, random boobies, so it would difficult for someone approaching the screen to figure out exactly which boobies on the screen I was looking at.

My eyes are up here!

Re:I smell venture capital PR (3, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615125)

Because the screen shows constantly changing random words, it would be difficult for someone approaching your screen to figure out exactly which point on the screen you were looking at.

Not that difficult, if the shoulder-surfer could watch for more than a few seconds. Especially if part of the screen seemed to show a consistent typeface, flowing sentences, coherent subject matter... i.e., anything not obviously random. Humans are damn good at pattern recognition. Moreso, if the shoulder-surfer has some idea what he's looking for, and the "authorized reader" is unaware he's being monitored. And don't deny that can happen. Anyone capable of concentrating sufficiently to work well is going to lose some environmental awareness, and a sufficiently sneaky voyeur would be able to benefit from that.

Overall, though, it would probably make more sense, and be cheaper, to avoid working on your private material where other people can see your screen

Yup. This smells like a solution looking to shoulder out existing and simpler solutions.

Paradoxically, the "consumer-grade" idea in TFA actually seems more valuable: The display is normal, but when your eyes leave it the whole thing blanks. This helps solve the very-real and not-well-solved problem of leaving terminals unattended.

Re:I smell venture capital PR (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#28616317)

I can't even read on a normal screen at the same speed as my wife when we're both reading some quote site or something on the same screen... one of us is always slower or faster. This would be damn near impossible to figure out.

Re:I smell venture capital PR (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28616915)

The problem will be when someone applies this to force the focused eyes to look at an advertisement (and probably also the real goal of the research, not some semi-useful shoulder-security application).

Re:I smell venture capital PR (4, Interesting)

hacksoncode (239847) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615439)

It doesn't say specifically, but I'm guessing it makes use of the saccade effect. Your brain literally doesn't see changes in the visual field while your eyes are moving from one spot to another (this motion is called a saccade).

So, basically, the text is only "correct" in the exact spot you're looking at any instant... as soon as your eyes move to the next word, the gibberish that's there before the saccade is changed to the "correct" word for that new spot. And you don't notice.

Anyone that the camera is not tracking would just see random gibberish because the words they are looking at usually haven't been changed to be the "correct" ones for that spot at the instant they are looking at them.

It's a well known process... just never applied to the field of security before. Also, it would take a very high-speed, very high-resolution camera, so I doubt it's applicability to general purpose computers any time soon.

And, of course, if someone watching you has the same high-speed, high-resolution camera that you have, they could just record the whole video stream and perform an analysis on it... so it's not terribly good security either.

Re:I smell venture capital PR (1)

swilver (617741) | more than 4 years ago | (#28619151)

GIF anims stuck in side bars when TRYING to read an article are so annoying for me that I've got any form of animation turned off. I think I would notice if text started changing the whole time. Periferal vision is highly attuned to seeing changes/movement, although you can't tell exactly what until you focus on it again.

Re:I smell venture capital PR (2, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615575)

Chameleon uses gaze-tracking software and camera equipment to track an authorized reader's eyes... "Check, that's doable now."

Well, sort of. A decent eye tracker (example 1 [smarteye.se] , example 2 [tobii.com] ) costs $15,000 to $30,000 (please do not request a link to a price quote - the fact that they don't list prices on their pages should be a good clue). And this scrambling system would be worse than useless with a bad eye tracker. (PS, please, please prove me wrong by posting a link to a cheap, robust, accurate eye-tracking solution!)

Re:I smell venture capital PR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28618923)

Check their webpage on "Chameleon" (not "Private eye") - it shows how "magic" works.
It displays proper information only where one person is looking, and gibberish around it.

To be honest, looking at an example shown on their webpage, you can decipher. If you look long enough at each word, it _will_ be displayed in clear. Then you can move to the next word. Sure, it is much slower reading than normal, but you can still see what is on screen.

It's an automatic "Boss" key!! (5, Funny)

thewils (463314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28614837)

I could have used this when I was playing Prince of Persia on one of my previous contracts!!!

Loony Bin (2, Funny)

JobyOne (1578377) | more than 4 years ago | (#28614951)

Now things really will wiggle around when I'm not looking right at them.

How am I supposed to tell the difference between PrivateEye and gremlins?

Re:Loony Bin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28618679)

Just try to feed it after midnight

Read a story once... (0)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615031)

Where a guy working for some TLA (three letter agency) was working out of a 'net cafe using a custom boot CD/DVD. The software on it would somehow figure out that there was someone else that could see his screen - gaze tracking, hax0ring the security cam in the establishment, etc - and throw up all sorts of porn. So to the waitress, etc. it seemed he was just a run of the mill perv...

Re:Read a story once... (1)

slummy (887268) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615165)

hax0ring the security cam? so this "three letter" agent was able to infiltrate the CCTV and overlay some porn where his screen would be? I call bullshit.

Eye strain (4, Interesting)

slummy (887268) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615071)

What about eye strain from the constant blurring/clarification process?
I would think a person using this technology would have to train themselves not to try and focus on an area of the screen that would normally be in focus until the "gaze" sensor figures out what they're trying to look at.

Re:Eye strain (1)

Drive42 (444835) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615523)

Nope. It's already been done. For nearly 25 years, I think (it's referenced in Dennett's "Elbow Room"). The computer can track the position of your pupils in relation to the screen, and since eye movement is made up of tiny ballistic trajectories, the computer can figure out where your focus is going to land next, and can "clear" the data at that point, and then "garbage" the data at the point that your eye is no longer looking at. People take in groups of symbols in chunks when they read and then hop over to the next bit and the computer can switch data faster than a person can notice, so the person who's reading the screen sees nothing but normality, while anyone who's looking over your shoulder (unless they had the exact same focus at the exact same time, which is incredibly unlikely) only sees gibberish.

Note that it only works with text. I'm not sure it would work with any sort of non-text graphical information.

Re:Eye strain (1)

donaggie03 (769758) | more than 4 years ago | (#28616249)

I think the key point about these types of programs is the assumptions that they can change the information on the screen faster than humans can read. Given Window's amazing reliability to jerk and spasm around, I wouldn't put too much stock in that assumption. This would become a very annoying program pretty quickly. Even very minor delays in the program would cause headaches (literally and figuratively) for the reader.

Re:Eye strain (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#28616335)

That depends entirely on how fast the machine reacts. If it goes faster than you can refocus (not out of the question), then you're good to go. If not, then it's pretty much a useless product. I really doubt that it'd be this far in development if it were completely useless.

Just you wait... (1)

dugrrr (582161) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615159)

...it will be like the scramble suit from Philip K. Dick's "A Scanner Darkly", but for computer monitors.

(ie. no one will know exactly what kind of porn your looking at)

A better use for gaze tech (4, Insightful)

stokessd (89903) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615511)

Screw privacy, I want my window manager to focus the window I'm looking at. Now that would be useful.

Sheldon

Re:A better use for gaze tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28616125)

Let me guess... you use focus follows mouse, hmm?

Re:A better use for gaze tech (1)

dokebi (624663) | more than 4 years ago | (#28616163)

What happens when you are looking at text from one window and typing into a different window?

Re:A better use for gaze tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28617335)

You mean like typing comments on slashdot without reading the article/summary, because I'm watching youtube videos in another window?

But excuse me (1)

anonymousNR (1254032) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615521)

This means if I my monitor faces my cubicle entrance and my cubicle happens to be on the way to the bathroom or cafeteria then this software will totally screw my eyes.

Clever, but probably impractical (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615577)

Problem 1: Suppose the gaze-tracking works perfectly under static conditions (during training before the scrambling). Now the scramble kicks in and you've got crap changing all over the screen. You're going to notice that; it's going to be irritating. And when you catch something changing, you're going to look at it. Thus screwing up the algorithm.

Problem 2: The algorithm isn't going to be 100% perfect. And it doesn't have to be camo far off to make melvin unreliable.

Awesome! (2, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615671)

This sounds like an awesome development in the area of personal security alright -- especially for looking at porn in your cubicle at work. Your boss or co-worker peers over the wall to try to catch you? No problem, it blurs the screen!

More biometric nonsense! (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615689)

Yet another piece of biometric technology that means if I'm having an off day, get a twitch in my eye etc. I get locked out of my own data. Yippee!!! Yay!

CRAP!! Next DMCA intrusion (5, Funny)

eatvegetables (914186) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615781)

Crap! Soon we'll get T.V.s that know that their being watched, who is watching, and exactly what viewers are looking at. ...Coming soon to a T.V. near you.

Viewer: (thinking to himself) Oh great, a commercial. Time for a potty break. la, la, la (walks away from T.V.)

T.V.: (in loud voice) Alert, Alert, Alert. Viewer, you have been away from the television for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. You now risk violating your television and cable provider's ULA and risk violating section 5, paragraph 10, subsection a of the 2010 DMCA redux and expansion act.

Viewer: Coming, coming...just have to give a quick shake....O.K., I'm here. Whew, that was close.

T.V.: Alert, Alert, Alert!!

Viewer: Wha!, I'm here. I'm watching again for God's sake.

T.V.: Viewer, you twice failed to take visual notice of the coke can product placement in this episode of Friends. You have now violated your television and cable provider's ULA and thus also violated the aforementioned DCMA act. Please place your hands on your head and wait for the authorities to arrive....a little higher please...there you go.

Could be defeated by a camera (1)

Jeff Carr (684298) | more than 4 years ago | (#28615947)

This is really interesting, and would solve casual observing to a large extent, but I wouldn't consider it a high security solution as it could be fairly trivially defeated by a video camera.

I could see where it could be useful for a doctor's office/hospital though to keep medical records secure, or a reception area to automatically screen out snoopers.

Re:Could be defeated by a camera (1)

mooterSkooter (1132489) | more than 4 years ago | (#28619153)

Or by, erm, I dunno, wearing a pair of dark glasses? And if the system can recognise shades then simply wear a pair of crazy Dame Edna Everage style dark-glasses!

Overly difficult solution to an easy problem (1)

Sir Holo (531007) | more than 4 years ago | (#28616027)

Line-of-sight security is not difficult. just don't face the monitor to the door.

If you're working on something that really is sensitive, then it's worth it to arrange for physical security.

2005 system used eye-contact for security (ACM) (1)

ottffs (532209) | more than 4 years ago | (#28616029)

In this paper from the 2005 ACM UIST (http://www.acm.org/uist/archive/index.html [acm.org] ) conference a system is described that knew when more than one set of eyes were looking at a screen and then tinting the screen red to indicate a possible breech of security. Moreover this system was implemented on a mobile device, thus placing it in public situations where unauthorized eyes were likely to be a problem.

PAPER

"eyeLook:Âusing attention to facilitate mobile media consumption" http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1095034.1095050&coll=GUIDE&dl=GUIDE&CFID=43353856&CFTOKEN=45571461 [acm.org]

ABSTRACT:

One of the problems with mobile media devices is that they may distract users during critical everyday tasks, such as navigating the streets of a busy city. We addressed this issue in the design of eyeLook: a platform for attention sensitive mobile computing. eyeLook appliances use embedded low cost eyeCONTACT sensors (ECS) to detect when the user looks at the display. We discuss two eyeLook applications, seeTV and seeTXT, that facilitate courteous media consumption in mobile contexts by using the ECS to respond to user attention. seeTV is an attentive mobile video player that automatically pauses content when the user is not looking. seeTXT is an attentive speed reading application that flashes words on the display, advancing text only when the user is looking. By making mobile media devices sensitive to actual user attention, eyeLook allows applications to gracefully transition users between consuming media, and managing life.

Be careful where you look! (1)

Bladesonfire (1242646) | more than 4 years ago | (#28616059)

Great, now my girlfriend is going to know I'm looking right at the pictures of those "singles" ads when that image is the only thing clear on a blurry screen.

Confusing web site (1)

gonz (13914) | more than 4 years ago | (#28616853)

The web site doesn't clearly explain the difference between "Chameleon" versus "PrivateEye". I found the answers in this PDF:

http://oculislabs.com/Oculis_Whitepaper_1.pdf [oculislabs.com]

It sounds like PrivateEye is the $19.95 edition for consumers using a simple web cam. Whereas Chameleon is the "high end" version using a special "Gazetracker" hardware device that probably has a much better reaction time. There's no price listing for Chameleon, i.e. it's intended for someone spending taxpayer's money rather than their own.

The demo is on the Chameleon page:

http://oculislabs.com/Products/ChameleonP.htm [oculislabs.com]

It took me awhile to figure out that this "PROTECTING DATA IN USE" image is actually an interactive Flash applet. What you do is hover the mouse over "Oculus in Action", and then wait until a blue/red oval slides across the screen. After the oval disappears, you can use the mouse to bring it back on the screen and move it around. The text inside the oval is readable, everything outside is scrambled.

The obscured text is pretty strange actually. On the "This is what the attacker sees" preview tab, the letters in each word are shuffled and easily deciphered. But on the "Oculus in Action" tab, they substitute random words of equal length, apparently sampled from a corpus of gay Satanic rites:

States --> Yapper
Government --> Satanology
degree --> faerie
classifies --> spermatova
determine --> doohinkus
classifying --> luciferidae

(No joke, these are real excerpts!)

From moving the oval around and trying to read what's inside, it's pretty apparent that reaction time is extremely important to the usability of this product. Since there's no downloadable demo program (and a whole lot of marketing patter), I'm guessing that PrivateEye is way too sluggish to be practical. Chameleon might be usable, but you probably have to pay full price to find that out as well heheh.

-Gonz

TEMPEST shines on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28617361)

We need a simple, open source solution for blocking TEMPEST.

Zero Pad Emission software is free but old and proprietary for Windows (works under Wine). I use it for opening up my passwords lists within my TrueCrypt partitions and containers, but I have no way to know if it really works or not.

Once a simple, open source solution is worked out, it can be something applied to every application, why not in X/org itself?

Blurring the screen may work for local peeping toms in and around the computer rooms, but when it is not blurred and visible, it can be compromised.

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