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Skeletal Identification

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the what-about-uriah's-shoulder dept.

Biotech 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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Cool (1, Funny)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 4 years ago | (#33353758)

This system could be a real boner for criminals.

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33353898)

More likely it will end up as yet another tool to <strike>spy</strike> collect information on the regular folk.

Re:Cool (1)

Forge (2456) | more than 4 years ago | (#33354154)

Yeah. But at least they can beet it. the tool for changing the appearance of this body-part was one of the 1st ever invented. http://images.buycostumes.com/mgen/merchandiser/33936.jpg [buycostumes.com]

And it's far easier to manipulate than those lasers and contacts for fooling a retina scan.

Re:Cool (1)

EdZ (755139) | more than 4 years ago | (#33354856)

Or, for a slightly less disfiguring alternative, there are cosmetic surgeries that involve lengthening bones [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Cool (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 4 years ago | (#33355834)

Yeah, I was looking for this. Saw a video on it at least 20 years ago. The patent was filed in 84. http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4433681.html [freepatentsonline.com]

And some before and afters: http://www.limblengthening.com/beforeafter.html [limblengthening.com]

Cellphone tracking (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356900)

Isn't cellphone tracking already capable of doing much of this?

Re:Cool (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 4 years ago | (#33362528)

But will it work on skeleton jelly?

obligitory... (0, Offtopic)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 4 years ago | (#33353790)

Thats no bone!!!

Good enough... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33353806)

If it's accurate enough for B'Lana to lock the transporters on, i'll be good enough for $TLA

Re:Good enough... (1)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 4 years ago | (#33354240)

It's spelled B'Elanna. Where's the Voyager Sucks troll when you need him?

Hot. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Hot. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33353948)

...places adults may encouter children each year

Stop thinking of the children already, you pervert!

Re:Hot. (0, Offtopic)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 4 years ago | (#33353952)

most people would probably suggest positive results be given an extra-high-intensity scan just to confirm it with a clearer image

I would suggest just turning the sucker up to 11-thousand when you initially scan the perp for the database. Problem solved. Hopefully they don't use one of those lame machines that only goes up to 10-thousand.

Re:Hot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33356204)

Why would it matter? They are both over nine thousand!

Re:Hot. (2, Insightful)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#33354072)

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. (3, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Hot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33357028)

It's better if you strawman both sides of the argument instead of just one side. Example:

I'd rather die in horrible agony because of severe overdose of bodyscans than die, of hemorrhaging from 70 hours of continuous butt-pillaging at the hands of a pedo.

Re:Hot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33354254)

Oh why bother, why don't they just implant some complex RFID in the back of the skull and be done with it, it's obvious they don't care very much about health concerns and privacy in their view is a thing of the past ...

x-rays not involved (1)

turkeyfish (950384) | more than 4 years ago | (#33354912)

These kinds of scanning do not use x-rays, rather monochromatic red light (primarily for eye-safety). They work by imaging the light by a red laser using a digital camera and transforming a 2D plane into a 3D object (surface) by reconstructing multiple views. The problem using these scanners is not that people would suffer harm from the beam, unless they looked directly into the laser, rather problems would come from artifacts produced by hair, clothing, etc that would mask the shape of the face and body, as well as artifacts that are generated because some artifacts are specular (produce reflections or glare). People would probably have to disrobe and be painted so that these artifacts could be minimized. It is one thing to image a bottle, golf club, or statue and another to image a moving person, who perhaps is sweating because of the trauma of being scanned. It would also require enormous databases and storage that can be rapidly searched for the "best match" against a list of "known" terrorists.

Basically for this to work, you would essentially need to be able to discriminate among terrorists and non-terrorists before you scanned them. Otherwise, you would have no way of determining if the scan you got is that of a terrorist or some poor sap, who "looks like one". Having had some experience with single-plane-structure light range devices, I have my doubts as to whether one could train such systems effectively based solely on scans captured surreptitiously or even in relatively controlled environments such as airports or doctor's offices, for a variety of fairly obvious reasons. Terrorists would probably blow themselves up before they willingly submitted being entered into a database and the number of false positives would probably render their use politically unpalatable, which is not to say that either our military should not look into the technology or that we will likely spend a huge amount of money proving that essentially the technology won't work. Most remember how star-wars laser beams were going to zap enemy ICBMs in the sky? They have proved not only incapable, except in the most manipulated of tests, but now theoretically probably impossible over any significant distance. Laser scanners are likely to fall into the "great hype" but impractical category, but of course that won't stop folks from trying to make some money on the taxpayer's dime.

Re:x-rays not involved (2, Informative)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356058)

FTFA:

X-rays, gamma rays or other forms of body scanning would be used to create a bone signature for each person. ... Depending on the selected technology, a skeletal scan would only expose a person to radiation that is the approximate equivalent of taking one cross-country airline flight.

Although their language is somewhat vague ("other forms of body scanning" is open to interpretation), they clearly are not ruling out x-rays, and are obviously leaning towards a form or radiation that would penetrate the body, rather than reflect off the surface, and the exposure would be measurable and significant. GP has a good point.

Basically for this to work, you would essentially need to be able to discriminate among terrorists and non-terrorists before you scanned them. (emphasis mine)

Sort of moots the point, doesn't it? FTFA:

What if there was a way to positively identify sex offenders as they arrived at theme parks and other venues populated by young children?

You position this technology as a way to confirm suspicion about a particular individual. We have other methods for doing that (fingerprint, DNA, etc.). They are positioning this scan as a way to sift through the general population. In other words, this intended "to be able to discriminate among terrorists and non-terrorists" as you say.

False positive / Negative (2, Interesting)

DrYak (748999) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356240)

Not to mention the rate of,

- false negative.
They specifically mention that broken bone and screws are things that make bone shape individual.
As soon as one ot those "godless pedo-terrorist pirate" breaks a bone, he is a completely different person for this system. Unless you make it mandatory to periodically update the database to know each latest modification the bones have gone through.

- false positive.
There's some variability among population, but is it enough to distinguish reliabily all the population ? Sure that no two persons out of the couple of billion currently on earth won't share similar bones ?
Specially since the articles considers same skeleton / different face as someone who is trying to hide something using plastic surgery (and not as a defficiency in the system ?)

Can't believe this hasn't been said (3, Funny)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356810)

Xrays and backscatters? Bruce Schneier needs none of these things to identify you by your skeleton. Bruce Schneier simply removes your skeleton from your body and gives it a once-over.

(apologies to schneierfacts.com)

Re:Hot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33358802)

Forget X-ray. Use the same ultrasonic sonar technology that is used for echo cardiograms and such. Just submerge the subject in a vat of gel, run the transducer all over their body,and record the results. Plus, think of the lives that will be saved when hidden medical conditions are discovered during the security scan!

Good thing the Lhari didn't have this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33353828)

(Anybody else read The Colors of Space?)

http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/20796 [gutenberg.org]

"terrorist attacks, child abductions" (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33353894)

Oh yeah! Terrorist and for-the-children in the abstract. Another bullshit system that somebody wants to sell to politicians who want to monitor citizens. Regular full-body X-rays for everybody!

"Scientists" and "researchers" that develop these technologies disgust me. Let's hope they are among the first to develop cancer due to their own technology.

Wouldn't be very useful by itself (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#33353906)

Facial recognition software is already notoriously unreliable [wikipedia.org] . I suspect that this system would be even easier to fool, and even more wonky with identification. Unless you could couple a bunch of these systems together, I doubt they would be useful at all. And I'm not even sure they would be particularly useful even if they were strung together. If a fake beard can fool facial recognition, then all I have to do is add an overcoat to deal with the skeletal recognition too.

Besides, how many people share the same basic build? If the system were to get any more specific than that, it would probably require an X-ray or MRI, and that would ultimately cause *way* more deaths than any terrorist (I'll have to pass on the daily dose or radiation, thanks).

Re:Wouldn't be very useful by itself (1)

capo_dei_capi (1794030) | more than 4 years ago | (#33354070)

You can't visualize bone with MRI (it's invisible in MR images). What you're looking for is probably CT (3D X-ray), the problem with this though is that you cannot expose the general public to the radiation levels that come with a CT scan without their explicit consent.

Re:Wouldn't be very useful by itself (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 4 years ago | (#33354264)

Facial recognition software is already notoriously unreliable [wikipedia.org] . I suspect that this system would be even easier to fool, and even more wonky with identification. Unless you could couple a bunch of these systems together, I doubt they would be useful at all. And I'm not even sure they would be particularly useful even if they were strung together. If a fake beard can fool facial recognition, then all I have to do is add an overcoat to deal with the skeletal recognition too.

Besides, how many people share the same basic build? If the system were to get any more specific than that, it would probably require an X-ray or MRI, and that would ultimately cause *way* more deaths than any terrorist (I'll have to pass on the daily dose or radiation, thanks).

With the average airplane passenger dead before their 50's, and the rest of us scared of the security rather than the flight itself, at least it would solve the problem of the long queues for check in and security...

On a more serious note... doesn't bone deform a little if you get injured (let alone if you break it)? How is such a scan going to identify anyone in places where sports are popular (e.g. the entire world)?

Re:Wouldn't be very useful by itself (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#33355006)

Hello, Unrecognized User!

Crap, let me try again. *crack* @#$@#%

Hello, Mr. Brandes!

Whole new security system just because I went on one date. *sigh*

Brilliant! (0)

stkris (1843186) | more than 4 years ago | (#33353924)

Another reason to nuke me with x-rays whenever I want to fly.

Re:Brilliant! (0, Offtopic)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#33354100)

If this goes into regular use, I won't be able to fly without having to worry about cellular level damage. I've already received the maximum life-time dosage of x-rays for medical treatment. The occasional x-ray is fine. What is being proposed here goes way beyond that and puts me into an unnecessary health risk.

Re:Brilliant! (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#33358836)

If this goes into regular use, I won't be able to fly without having to worry about cellular level damage. I've already received the maximum life-time dosage of x-rays for medical treatment.

Flying exposes you to radiation anyway, so if that's a problem for you, then you better not fly.
However they mention the use of this at other places, like sport stadiums. So with this, you also better don't visit any sports event either.

Re:Brilliant! (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#33359148)

Yes, but with the infrequency with which I fly that level of radiation isn't of a concern. Being constantly bombarded like is being suggested in the article is completely unhealthy and unacceptable.

Re:Brilliant! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33354150)

No worries, they've cured me of ever wanting to fly anymore.

This definitely won't lead to less freedom... (2, Insightful)

TheLuggage2008 (1199251) | more than 4 years ago | (#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...

Re:This definitely won't lead to less freedom... (1)

eightball (88525) | more than 4 years ago | (#33354318)

Every system has a false positive rate. The question is whether a given technique has a lower rate than other methods.

Lots of other technologies will (2, Insightful)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#33355490)

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.

Easy to fool... (4, Insightful)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Easy to fool... not to mention (1)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 4 years ago | (#33354014)

That little bitsy wee problem of getting the body scans of terrorists.

I say the US invades Afghanistan with portable boner scanners and... everyone they find.

(Whoops. They've already fucked everyone there, right?)

Re:Easy to fool... not to mention (2, Insightful)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 4 years ago | (#33355116)

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.

Re:Easy to fool... not to mention (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356376)

Then it will be sold to every idiot with a budget and too much power.

Not to worry then. With the economy going the way it is, nobody is going to have a budget for anything more expensive than a couple of new signs [salon.com] .

Re:Easy to fool... (2, Funny)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 4 years ago | (#33354234)

I see your point.
This system where we combine fingerprinting with retinal scans and full body X-rays is not enough.

I think we have a simple solution: brain measurements. I understand that brains have these wiggly lines on them (circumtelligently designed), and these are unique. So I propose we just put a neurosurgeon at each airport, to quickly check if your brain matches your passport.

Re:Easy to fool... (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#33355166)

That's kind of like encryption or using a disguise however. if you use it and nobody else does, and it is detected, you are on the radar *because* you are detected as beating the system.

side benefit: (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#33353974)

better terminator identification

(said in flat austrian accent:)

"I'm a cybernetic organism: living tissue over metal endoskeleton"

Re:side benefit: (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#33355866)

Y'know I've always wondered if Arnold Schwarzenegger gets a vocal trainer just to maintain his accent (he's been in the US for so long right?).

After all, I'm sure it's just not the same if he had a West Coast accent. Or worse:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kayFrIR-Qfw [youtube.com] :)

LOL (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356928)

hilarious, thanks for that, never saw that before ;-)

Re:LOL (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#33358196)

I can see reasons why that scene was cut though. In the terminator universe there would probably be pics of the first terminator, so using the same likeness would not be so plausible.

But maybe they should have just left it in anyway... :).

Is there a future for privacy? Or just Wikileaks? (2, Insightful)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#33354024)

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:Is there a future for privacy? Or just Wikileak (1)

zzyzyx (1382375) | more than 4 years ago | (#33354272)

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

Except in this case it's reciprocal. Everyone knows you and you know everyone, and you still have the privacy of your home. In "our" world large centralized systems watch you, but you don't know exactly who they are, what they know, and what they use this information for.

If knowledge is power, I'm not convinced we should allow governments, corporations, etc. to have too much.

Re:Is there a future for privacy? Or just Wikileak (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#33355020)

Gray, black, official secret and multiple legal data markets are inevitably growing. Like drugs, the law can't eliminate the demand for these things. The biggest problem is privacy rights also getting abused as secrecy. We can download mp3's in privacy/secrecy and private entities can track us in privacy/secrecy. Additionally, there are many positive uses for data sharing which are not possible because of privacy questions. Government and corporate transparency. Universal medical records. Locating lost or kidnapped children. As usual, the problem is ill-intentioned minds, and their uses of the laws and technology meant for other purposes. But with all these possibilities to gather data, drug smuggling may soon take a back seat to data smuggling, as it becomes easier and easier, more demanded, and remains completely illegal. We need to start thinking of the equivalent of legalizing drugs, something like data-transparency laws, not only the data-privacy laws.

Re:Is there a future for privacy? Or just Wikileak (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#33354966)

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.

You obviously don't live in a small town. I do (actually, just outside one), and there certainly is privacy, even though everyone does pretty much know everybody. (The proof of this is how most affairs only get revealed in divorce court, not in town gossip.) There is also respect, which is even harder to obtain in the modern world.

Re:Is there a future for privacy? Or just Wikileak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33355222)

Eliminating privacy may not be the end of the world, Eliminating privacy for everyone but the elite and riches is akin going back to slavery and that is the real problem. If you can start eliminating privacy from the top of the society I may have no problem with it, otherwise, I want my privacy.

Re:Is there a future for privacy? Or just Wikileak (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356764)

Eliminating privacy for everyone but the elite and riches is akin going back to slavery

I believe that is exactly where we are heading. We are let to believe we have privacy and don't complain, but there is a ton of data on everyone for sale. Privacy is becoming more complex and needs hiring specialists, and breaking privacy just means hiring specialists. In practice, privacy for the rich and powerful.

Easy to circumvent (1)

beef3k (551086) | more than 4 years ago | (#33354122)

1. Obtain full body x-ray scan of Fall Guy
2. Create a custom skeleton suit based on x-rays
3. Pass through security wearing skeleton suit
4. ???
5. Profit!

Re:Easy to circumvent (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#33354222)

You'd likely just set off the tampering or unidentified-person alerts.

Penetrating X Rays - NFW (5, Interesting)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#33354124)

This article reads like a parody. Some guy is (supposedly) worried about sex offenders in the neighborhood - I know, let's X Ray everyone everyday ! That will surely keep people safe, until they all die of cancer.

Seriously, are these guys stuck in the 1950's ? Penetrating radiation for bone scans ? On a daily basis ? I can remember when children's shoe stores had X ray machines, so Mom could view how the shoe fit, but such common uses of X Rays were stopped for a reason, and as a screening device this has no chance.

From the article : Depending on the selected technology, a skeletal scan would only expose a person to radiation that is the approximate equivalent of taking one cross-country airline flight

From the World Health Organization, INFORMATION SHEET Nov. 2005, on Cosmic Radiation and Air Travel : [who.int]

Aircrew are now recognized in many countries as occupationally exposed to radiation, and radiation protection limits for aircrew are similar to those established for nuclear workers.

If you work through the numbers (and I read the above to mean that, at best, radiation exposure would be similar to air travel, so this is a lower bound), a daily scan would thus amount to 2 to 5 milliSievert (mSv) of radiation each year, substantially exceeding the ICRP guideline of no more than 1 mSv exposure to any fetus during pregnancy, and coming close to or exceeding the guideline of 4 mSv exposure for ordinary workers.

This would, at a minimum, mean that anyone at risk of pregnancy should not be scanned, and radiation workers should not be scanned (as they are typically close to their limits). There is thus just no chance that this would be adopted for regular screening of the general population.

Re:Penetrating X Rays - NFW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33357408)

I know Wright State very well - I attended it for four years and I live 3 miles away. This college is one of the worst for making unsubstantiated claims that are either never fulfilled or changed after that fact. They're hoping to get more money out of AFRL (which is nearby on Wright Patt) for several 'projects', all of which that I'm familiar with are 100% bunk. This is a diploma mill, and not even a good one at that.

Questions (1)

nomad-9 (1423689) | more than 4 years ago | (#33354126)

They state that "a skeletal scan would only expose a person to radiation that is the approximate equivalent of taking one cross-country airline flight", but If they implement it as they hope, to "scan the skeletal structures of people at airports, sports stadiums, theme parks and other public places that could be vulnerable to terrorist attacks, child abductions or other crimes" - how much radiation is that per year? I suppose that scanning your skeleton is only possible with radiation that is strong enough to "reach" your bones.
Other question: - How many countries have a database of terrorist skeletons just waiting to be used?
The good news is that, we don't have to surrender our privacy, since it's already long gone. We just have to watch out for cancer a little (or a whole lot) more.

Now they have another means to scan for... (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 4 years ago | (#33354270)

...BONERS!

*sunglasses*

A bone to pick with the premise (3, Insightful)

phorwich (909601) | more than 4 years ago | (#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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone_remodeling [wikipedia.org] 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?

Re:A bone to pick with the premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33359138)

The scheme fails to account for the fact that human bones remodel and change shape over time.

Yeah, I saw that in The Sopranos.

Re:A bone to pick with the premise (1)

thijsh (910751) | more than 4 years ago | (#33367936)

One could imagine a database of "bone information" hat is cross-referenced to identity.

Don't all geeks on Slashdot have a few terabyte of those already?

Easy to defeat... (1)

CoolVibe (11466) | more than 4 years ago | (#33354702)

Just break something. You have 206 chances to fool the system.

Re:Easy to defeat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33359252)

Just break something. You have 206 chances to fool the system.

If you'll do that by driving a Peugeot 206, you'll confuse them even more.

Only one part of the problem (1)

SolarStorm (991940) | more than 4 years ago | (#33354898)

Yes it might be able to identify a "potential" terrorist by identifying them. However, if I remember correctly, you are innocent until proven guilty. So we have identified a potential terrorist, legitimately visiting his sick grandma in denver. He is flying with his toothbrush and shorts. So what. What we need to do is identify that the toothpaste is really an explosive. And if he is a good terrorist, he isn't going to carry the stuff on the plane with him, someone else will or it will be planted. We need to identify the potential weapons, as well as the people.

Do we bar a convicted criminal from flying after he has served his "20" year sentence and been released?

Not to mention all of the X-Ray/radiation issues and already suggested methods of potentially beating the system.

Re:Only one part of the problem (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356082)

It isn't only about guilt or innocence. It is also about who the airlines allow to fly on their planes.

Every American has the lawful ability to amass an arsenal of devastating force. It's a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT! It is only fair that the airlines have the right to be selective in the matter of plane passengers.

There are a lot of nuts out there!

fail (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | more than 4 years ago | (#33359050)

So.. lets see. to get the identification they must have been scanned before. But if they are a known terrorist, and you have scanned them, shouldn't they already be in jail? Of course you know this will be expanded to anyone who is ever arrested (regardless of eventual guilt) because..well all terrorists must have broken a law. This is such a freaking fail.

Some perspective.... (1)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 4 years ago | (#33354900)

If you can meet the following criteria, you're pretty much guaranteed a research grant:

1. Speaks to a perceived counter-terrorism need
2. Concept works at least a little bit, on carefully selected, unrealistic, synthetic data
3. Appears plausible to someone who either doesn't understand the science involved, or isn't interested in the idea's viability for real applications
4. Promises to benefit the resume of someone in the government, such as by making them author of a conference paper without them having to do any research or writing
5. Your resume must be credible looking from the outside, so that everyone's ass is covered

Its unrealistic to assume that an idea makes much sense just because someone's working on it. Some ideas may pan out in a positive manner, most are never intended to. It doesn't matter to most of the people involved, because they're doing fun 'science' and getting paid.

How are they going to get the original scans? (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 4 years ago | (#33354976)

Ignoring all the other problems, like radiation doses or ability to circumvent...

How the hell do they expect to get an X-Ray scan of every major terrorist? By the time you can get one of those, you should already be able to arrest the bastard. So, are you proposing to get a regular scan of everybody, file it somewhere, and then flag it as "terrorist" when you receive information?

Facial recognition is only feasible because getting a picture of someone is easy. Hell, just find their Facebook account, you'll be good. It has a lot of problems, but it's usable because it can identify people that haven't been sent through the system before. This won't stop any terrorists. None. Putting that word in the article is pure buzzword-based marketing.

Re:How are they going to get the original scans? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356046)

Its no longer about terrorism. Its about controlling the masses. As you pointed out, how do you get a scan of every terrorist? You don't, because (given their current tactics) once they've proven themselves to be a terrorist, all that's left are bone fragments in the rubble of a high rise.

When they (al Qaida) sent over the next batch, they'll pick people with clean records. So matching the airport scan to one at the entrance to a stadium or theater will only reveal the presence of a tourist going to the Yankees game. No crime yet.

But once they get biometrics data on the population, they can track who is going where and when. No crime or reasonable suspicion required to stop and request identification. Arizona aside, the problem they are trying to solve is how to identify and track large numbers of people in a nation where carrying and presenting identification is not required.

Re:How are they going to get the original scans? (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356734)

Well, you could conclude that it's a sinister conspiracy to establish total control, but that seems a bit unlikely, especially since the source doesn't seem to have any real contact with the government yet.

It could also be a case of the inventor failing to consider the real-world usage of the device. After all, it would be effective against felons released from prison. It just wouldn't work against first-time offenders, like, say, suicide bombers.

Occam's Razor indicates that incompetence, not evil, is the more likely cause.

Identify this bone..... (1)

realsilly (186931) | more than 4 years ago | (#33357424)

....er /sorry someone had to go there.....

radiation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33358872)

OK, one scan may be of no or little risk, but it's only a question of time, or the wrong job, and it cumulates to problematic doses within weeks or even a day. Here a small scan and there, oh, I forgot something, I'll be right back. On the other hand, that might be a great way for terrorists to put a whole population to risk without doing harm themselves. Great, really great. Why don't we just throw the bomb and there would be no terrorist left? Guaranteed.

cb

orly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33360614)

> The answer came quickly enough—skeletons. Virtually every person has a unique skeletal structure nearly impossible to alter.

I managed to alter it, pretty easily, fail in the stairs like a dumbass.

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