Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

UK-Developed 'DNA Spray' Marks Dutch Thieves With Trackable Water

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the prepare-for-the-post-riot-shower dept.

Biotech 191

eldavojohn writes "In Rotterdam, there's a new technology in place that dispenses a barely visible mist over those around it and alerts the police. The purpose? To tag robbers and link them back to the scene of the crime. From the article, 'The mist — visible only under ultraviolet light — carries DNA markers particular to the location, enabling the police to match the burglar with the place burgled. Now, a sign on the front door of the McDonald's prominently warns potential thieves of the spray's presence: "You Steal, You're Marked."' Developed in Britain, it's yet to nab a criminal but it will be interesting to see whether or not synthesized DNA will hold up as sufficient evidence in an actual court of law." So it's not just for copper thieves.

cancel ×

191 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

So, worse than 1 MILLION CCTVs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33958314)

How uplifting !!

idiotic, as usual when it's for Queen&Country$ (0, Troll)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | about 4 years ago | (#33958320)

nt

Water? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33958332)

Seriously? I'm no scientist, but it seems like a good scrubbing and you'd make a clean getaway. Har har...

Re:Water? (4, Interesting)

jandersen (462034) | about 4 years ago | (#33958430)

Seriously? I'm no scientist, but it seems like a good scrubbing and you'd make a clean getaway. Har har...

Good joke; but since you are no scientist, perhaps you wouldn't know that they even think about these trivial, blindingly obvious things and test for them.

Nope, mate, what you see here is a bloody clever thing, and not something you can easily find a way out of. DNA sequences can be purpose built nowadays, and soon it will be cheap enough for everybody to buy. The number of variations are practically unlimited, so you could more or less mark every brick in London with their own, individual marker, and you can't just wash it off and be sure not to carry it around with you; plus of course they don't put a big sticker on the outside of marked objects to warn you. If you want to avoid carrying this stuff around with you, you will have to put on a full environment suit, and since you never know where you can come across this stuff, you will have to do it every time you do something you don't want to be nicked for. The problem with environment suits is, they tend to stand out, of course.

Re:Water? (1)

nunojsilva (1019800) | about 4 years ago | (#33958502)

DNA sequences can be purpose built nowadays, and soon it will be cheap enough for everybody to buy.

So, soon not only the robbed people will be able to buy one of those markers - other people will be able to do it too.

This probably means, even if this now has some chance of being accepted in court, it will (I hope) be droped when they find anyone can be framed by the real burglar, if she gets the chance to build the same sequence with the same environmental markers.

A good question is, perhaps, whether it will be easy or hard to do so.

Re:Water? (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | about 4 years ago | (#33958652)

Actually I'd expect it to be even worse, thanks to the CSI effect. Basically the same blind belief that if it's some hi-tech shit, then it's more infallible than the Pope and those scientists 100% thought of and prevented every possible problem or false positive, that you can see in the GP post.

Someone _will_ get sent to jail by some idiot jury because the real burglar -- who, for example, is an employee and didn't even need to synthetise anything: he just nicked the bottle that the PHB cleverly hid in his desk drawer -- sprayed them with it.

That's actually the important part: often when it looks like there's some impossible hurdle like synthetising DNA, there are often _much_ simpler ways to plant it, _and_ you can rely on some idiots still thinking that only the really complicated way exists. E.g., people have already planted DNA at a crime scene by just taking a cigarette butt from a bus station and dropping it there. Here you don't even have to do that.

Or as an even more trivial example, if a co-worker you really don't like leaves his coat behind and his wallet in it, spray the coat and banknotes in the wallet, steal the same amount from the cash register, tip someone off that you saw them stealing again. Double profit. You got the money, and got rid of that guy or gal you don't like.

Yeah, they'll end up having to convince a jury that those scientists and their hi-tech solution are fallible after all. Good luck with that in a world being told the opposite by PR. And where they saw on TV every week that you can take a hair you found on a carpet and know exactly that it belongs to the killer (and not, say, to one of the guests the victim had two days before that, or some guy in the bus leaving hair on her coat) and run a DNA analysis to tell you exactly what the killer looks like. Or that you can take a two by two pixel image of the back of someone's head from a security camera, enhance it to a clear 1600x1200 image and, with a couple more mouse clicks, turn it around to see the culprit's face.

Seriously, we're already at the point where some juries acquit because you didn't do that, or conversely people who spent time on the death row because some pseudo-science mumbo-jumbo must be 100% correct and accurate like on CSI.

Re:Water? (1)

Jurily (900488) | about 4 years ago | (#33959472)

Couldn't agree with you more. It's a sad day when xkcd [xkcd.com] can be used legitimately in court.

Re:Water? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33958670)

In another Dutch city (Utrecht) people get a free DNA kit from the police, to mark their valuable belongings. I assume they allready are cheap. It can't take long before anyone can just buy one and start playing with it.

Re:Water? (2, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 years ago | (#33959136)

That's a pretty massive 'if'.

I think you overestimate the sort of person who robs McDonalds, if they had a second brain cell to keep the first one company they wouldn't be doing it.

Masterminding some sort of DNA-resequencing plan? Not so much.

Re:Water? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33959438)

Masterminding some sort of DNA-resequencing plan? Not so much.
--

If it is script-kiddie level easy (like, buy it at the seven-eleven, put a drop of original dna in, get a spray in 10 minutes), it will be used.

Re:Water? (2, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 years ago | (#33958732)

Why not just buy some of this spray, covertly spray some around a jewellery shop and then report them to the police for handling your stolen property?

Most thieves either get caught at the scene or they get away and the police eventually track them down much later. After multiple showers and scrubbing I doubt that there would be enough of this stuff left to get a positive DNA match. Don't forget that the police have lied about the accuracy and reliability of DNA. The Omagh bombing trial collapsed because the DNA "amplification" technique was shown to be unreliable and because it threw up two matches from the database anyway which implies that the odds of a match are much lower than the 1 in 100,000,000 they were claiming.

You could probably just buy some of this stuff and then apply it to yourself. There would be little chance of getting a reliable clean sample.

Sounds like snakeoil to me.

Re:Water? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 years ago | (#33959098)

The shop will have their receipts in good order, will you have yours?

Re:Water? (2, Informative)

Stooshie (993666) | about 4 years ago | (#33958810)

" ... plus of course they don't put a big sticker on the outside of marked objects to warn you ... ".

Err, yes the do. RTFA and see the big orange sign.

Also, DNA can degrade fairly quickly if it is not part of a living cell and there are many chemicals that can break DNA down.

Re:Water? (1)

digitig (1056110) | about 4 years ago | (#33958862)

plus of course they don't put a big sticker on the outside of marked objects to warn you.

From the summary: "Now, a sign on the front door of the McDonald's prominently warns potential thieves of the spray's presence".

Re:Water? (2, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 years ago | (#33959056)

Maybe we're overestimating the intelligence of people who'll walk past a big orange sign in broad daylight and rob a McDonalds.

Re:Water? (1)

mapkinase (958129) | about 4 years ago | (#33959080)

It's interesting how technology developed from personalized crafts where each creation was unique to the mass manufacture with identical copies of the same product (often fully automated, which insures that those copies are indistinguishable) to the artificially personalized copies of the product - unique id tags, serial numbers were superficial and mostly easily removable from the product, but those two recent developments indicate that manufacturers and owners will go at length to make sure that the added uniqueness stay thoroughly embedded to and unalienable from any given copy of the product.

Re:Water? (1)

Eraesr (1629799) | about 4 years ago | (#33958436)

I read somewhere that it doesn't come of by simply washing with water and soap. I know, I know, [citation needed] etc, but I don't have a source right now.

Re:Water? (2, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | about 4 years ago | (#33958606)

It does. To an extent. Not enough though.

The PCR techniques used to amplify it for detection purposes are so sensitive that enough remains can be picked up by crimelab.

The only way to reliably "clean" clothing that has come into contact with this is to dip it in DNAases (enzymes that specifically hydrolise DNA). These are actually quite easy to come by in Holland. Holland is one of the world capitals of developing "pumped up" chicken meat. That used to be "pumped up" with crude pork and beef proteins extracts, however labs started picking up pork or beef based on DNA (very similar to this detection method). So now the extracts are treated with DNAase so that the tests do not work. As a result DNAase is actually not that difficult to come by. Just talk to your "halal" (quotes intended as it is stuffed with pork to the hilt) cheap chicken supplier.

Not that it would matter anyway as this is mostly against petty criminals.

Re:Water? (4, Funny)

cgenman (325138) | about 4 years ago | (#33958662)

Whew! And here I was afraid the spray was just cat pee.

Nothing gets that stuff off.

Re:Water? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33959062)

Cheesing is bad, mmmmmkay?

Re:Water? (1)

ByteSlicer (735276) | about 4 years ago | (#33958676)

The only way to reliably "clean" clothing that has come into contact with this is to dip it in DNAases

Just use bleach. It will do the job faster, more reliant and cheaper.

Re:Water? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 years ago | (#33959038)

...and more harmful to the colors!

Re:Water? (1)

1s44c (552956) | about 4 years ago | (#33958982)

Just talk to your "halal" (quotes intended as it is stuffed with pork to the hilt) cheap chicken supplier.

You seriously think they use denatured beef and pork protein in halal chicken? If that's true it would upset the Jews, Muslims, and Hindu's something crazy.

Do you have any evidence chicken producers do that? A URL or anything?

Re:Water? (1)

dave420 (699308) | about 4 years ago | (#33959264)

*crickets chirping*

Re:Water? (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 4 years ago | (#33958648)

I read somewhere that it doesn't come of by simply washing with water and soap. I know, I know, [citation needed] etc, but I don't have a source right now.

Thieves are not generally known for their intelligence. Even if they were aware of the magic dye, they would have to arm themselves with a black light and literally scrub everything - themselves, their clothes, their shoes, their car, the trail of drips / prints, and anything they touched for the police to be no better off than if the dye system had not deployed. I bet you could be at it for hours and still leave traces. Even if you think you've washed the dye off, there might stuff left that can be swabbed and detected in a lab.

Re:Water? (2, Interesting)

delinear (991444) | about 4 years ago | (#33958846)

My chief concern is, if this is deployed as a "mist", how easy is it for others to get wrongly tagged. Can it get into aircon units and spread around the building? Can it escape the building and tag people in the street? Depending how blunt an instrument this is, it might not be enough to show a few drops, we might expect that only people who are literally drenched in the stuff are likely to be found guilty (and even then, who's to say the real criminal didn't lift a bottle of the stuff and toss it over the most likely suspect). If this is used purely for detection, fair enough; if it's used for conviction I'd be pretty worried.

Re:Water? (1)

digitig (1056110) | about 4 years ago | (#33958880)

Thieves that get caught are not generally known for their intelligence.

Fixed that for ya.

Re:Water? (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 4 years ago | (#33959088)

Fixed that for ya.

Who do you think would be busting into a run down McDonalds? Raffles the Gentleman Thief?

It's probably a gang of scumbags from the nearest housing estate. Chances are the cops would suspect who did it and presence of the dye on any of them would easily confirm it.

Re:Water? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33959158)

Or just put it all under a UV light...

We use a UV light in our PCR hoods to destroy any lingering DNA so we don't get any extraneous signals in our sequencing.

Re:Water? (1)

inca34 (954872) | about 4 years ago | (#33959292)

pH-adjusted bleach should do it. For example, chlorox and vinegar.

Re:Water? (1)

sempir (1916194) | about 4 years ago | (#33959440)

APB...if you can't read the suspects DNA check if they are dressed all in white and carrying fish and chips!

Re:Water? (5, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | about 4 years ago | (#33958478)

Of everything. Because this is a fine mist that will stick to everything, even your hands, shoes, clothes, socks, the bag, the tools, the stolen property. So you'd need to do a job and then ditch everything you have in a forensically secure way. I've used a similar competing product called SmartWater.

The beauty of things like SmartWater is that its a suspension of fine molecules that can be *uniquely* identified to a particular user (i.e. you get a coded bottle with a unique number and a unique solution). The UV is just there to light up when people go through police stations but the chemical itself is, supposedly, uniquely identifiable.

Answering "How did you come to have UV marker solution on your clothes?" is easy. You were security marking your own equipment, you work with the stuff all the time, it must have been on something you picked up, maybe someone was playing a prank. Answering "How did you come to have a UV marker solution on the clothes you wore last night that is ONLY issued to Company X, when there was a burglary at Company X last night, when you claim to have been at home and never near Company X?" is a bit more tricky, especially if it's a fine mist that soaks into anything and everything it touches.

I've used the SmartWater stuff, which is very similar to this, and it's a wonderful deterrent. They claim to have a 100% conviction rate when property / people are found by police with SmartWater on them and given that they are often used in bank security vans, that's quite impressive. I don't know if that was true, or still is, but it's plausible. Basically if the police find the tiniest forensic trace of that stuff on property / people they question, they can take a sample, send it to the company, who will tell them who bought that EXACT pot of tracer ink. I also know from experience that a 50ml pot of SmartWater is enough to chemically mark every PC or electrical item in a school several times a year and last several years.

This stuff isn't just a UV-tracer. It puts you, forensically, at the exact scene of a particular crime. And given that I know of no lawsuits with any of these stuff being in question, they must have a pretty cast-iron chemical description that can satisfy a court of law or, at least, people who are caught with it on their clothes that it wouldn't be worth challenging.

It's also very good for equipment recovery. It basically guarantees identificiation / return of stolen property if it comes into police hands. Before, even if your stuff was security marked, it wasn't guaranteed that you would get it back (the first thing is that people try to file off the security marks - I've had police tell me of cases where they had to return goods with obviously filed-off security marks because they couldn't prove it WASN'T the suspected thieves and couldn't trace the actual owner), but with SmartWater once it's in police possession even the smallest tiny speck of SmartWater (which can be deployed even on hard-to-cleanse areas like across the PCB's of (unpowered) motherboards) or similar will link it to it's owner.

Re:Water? (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 years ago | (#33958518)

Answering "How did you come to have a UV marker solution on the clothes you wore last night that is ONLY issued to Company X, when there was a burglary at Company X last night, when you claim to have been at home and never near Company X?" is a bit more tricky

A: Yesterday, a guy in the street sprayed me with a substance I didn't identify. I tried to chase down the guy to ask for an explanation but he ran faster than me.

Re:Water? (2, Insightful)

N1AK (864906) | about 4 years ago | (#33958654)

And as long as you didn't fit the CCTV footage, have a record for that type of crime, find it hard to show evidence of the spraying, had a remotely plausible alibi, leave any DNA or fingerprint evidence at the site etc I'm sure you might have a chance with that defence.

I'm very sceptical about DNA evidence being used to convict. I'm a lot less sceptical about evidence like this being used to build a compelling case alongside other evidence, or to narrow enquiries. You can, never, ever, 100% prove someone committed a crime even if they admit it, did it in public and on CCTV. You can however be confident the odds of a false conviction are vanishingly small, requiring any more that isn't plausible.

Re:Water? (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 years ago | (#33958858)

And as long as you didn't fit the CCTV footage, have a record for that type of crime, find it hard to show evidence of the spraying, had a remotely plausible alibi, leave any DNA or fingerprint evidence at the site etc I'm sure you might have a chance with that defence.

You mean criminals have a hard time finding a single friend who owns any kind of spraying bottle and a hooded sweatshirt?

Re:Water? (1)

dave420 (699308) | about 4 years ago | (#33959288)

No, they have a hard time filling the spray bottle with a substance that is only issued to a single, specific company.

Re:Water? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 4 years ago | (#33959018)

A: Yesterday, a guy in the street sprayed me with a substance I didn't identify. I tried to chase down the guy to ask for an explanation but he ran faster than me.

Maybe that's what the crooks were doing at the track. They were qualifying runners.

Re:Water? (1)

zwarte piet (1023413) | about 4 years ago | (#33958528)

I'd say, buy your own spray system and get a nice dose of the stuff on your clothes to mask company X's tag before you start scrubbing.

Re:Water? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 years ago | (#33959072)

Why would it mask it? You'd just have two different markers on you, that's all.

So it's even better? (2, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | about 4 years ago | (#33958592)

So it's even better?

Just as I was reading that story, I was thinking, "WTF, why McDonald?" I mean in retail the majority of thefts are by employees, not some guy charging in to snatch a plastic cup and run.

So now you just need to figure how to trip the spray on some lone guy who came for a burger at 2 AM, pocket a thousand and claim he robbed you. Or you can get even more creative if the miracle bottle that the PHB marks everything with is easily accessible by just, say, opening his desk drawer.

Thanks to idiot juries who, thanks to what now is called the "CSI effect" will blindly convict if there's some high-tech shit they don't understand as evidence -- and just as sadly occasionally won't convict even with six witnesses if you don't also some techno-magic involved to finger the culprit -- you're almost guaranteed to have the scheme work unless you overdo it and become the store that's robbed at 2AM every night.

Re:Water? (5, Interesting)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | about 4 years ago | (#33958870)

""How did you come to have a UV marker solution on the clothes you wore last night that is ONLY issued to Company X"

Are you sure it was only issued to company X? Show my evidence that no other bottle could possibly contain the same solution. See, with humans this process occurs naturally, everyone has different DNA (with extremely high probability) because of how biology works. Once you start making your own, you've shown that it's possible to duplicate DNA, thus the solution is NOT necessarily unique.

"I also know from experience that a 50ml pot of SmartWater is enough to chemically mark every PC or electrical item in a school several times a year and last several years."

So, you have now just told us that you have the ability to put the SAME SOLUTION on multiple DIFFERENT ENTITIES MULTIPLE TIMES PER YER for years on end. Thus, anyone could, with only a tiny amount of this stuff, frame any number of different people with extreme ease.

"but with SmartWater once it's in police possession even the smallest tiny speck of SmartWater (which can be deployed even on hard-to-cleanse areas like across the PCB's of (unpowered) motherboards) or similar will link it to it's owner."

No, it will link it to whoever managed to get their hands on one of these bottles and spray it on whatever the fuck they felt like. I could go mark every computer at my local university with this stuff and then claim that the entire computer lab belonged to me because only I have this bottle of magic property-identifying liquid.

Re:Water? (1)

dave420 (699308) | about 4 years ago | (#33959302)

This is not the same DNA as you are made of. It doesn't behave the same way.

This is not evidence all on its own, it's used to further investigation.

Re:Water? (1)

ccguy (1116865) | about 4 years ago | (#33958938)

Of everything. Because this is a fine mist that will stick to everything, even your hands, shoes, clothes, socks, the bag,

Well, any store that wants me to come home with their mist can go fuck themselves. Hopefully they'll make it mandatory to warn about that crap being in the air at least.

Re:Water? (1)

mapkinase (958129) | about 4 years ago | (#33959104)

Similar technology is used by dogs to mark they trees they own in the park.

Re:Water? (1)

mayberry42 (1604077) | about 4 years ago | (#33959500)

I've used a similar competing product called SmartWater.

The beauty of things like SmartWater is that its a suspension of fine molecules that can be *uniquely* identified to a particular user (i.e. you get a coded bottle with a unique number and a unique solution). The UV is just there to light up when people go through police stations but the chemical itself is, supposedly, uniquely identifiable.

You mean this [glaceau.com] smartwater? Wow, i had no idea flavoured vitamin water could do such things! And i thought it was to make you smart...

Re:Water? (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 4 years ago | (#33959184)

Clean?
          I believe I would fill the DNA tank from my bladder.
It really makes good ironic sense. Piss on 'em.

"visible only under ultraviolet light" (1)

psergiu (67614) | about 4 years ago | (#33958378)

"visible only under ultraviolet light"

Then it can't be used in the night clubs as those "black lights" will make-it VERY visible.

Thus solving the problem once and for all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33958392)

In other news, a recent surge in sales has sent stock prices of latex glove and raincoat manufacturers through the roof...

Beef spray (4, Funny)

Pflipp (130638) | about 4 years ago | (#33958394)

Well, that's the first thing they'll serve with actual DNA in it, then.

Criminals Exchange DNA as well as goods (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33958630)

Nearly every dollar bill contains traces of cocaine. You have them in your wallet. Does that make you both a dealer and a criminal and associating with criminals?

Criminal 'does' a bank. Criminal is nabbed, but claims because he works or spends way too much time at Mc D's, or the local gym, community basketball court - and some must have rubbed off, or off a local hooker, where the real criminal may have passed on something, plus some dna marker.

All it proves is a circumstantial contact - bring in a few local bank tellers or McD workers - and they will have the same tagging.

Some criminals wear hoodies. Same crim runs out and gets away (rare) then rubs hoods with mates at local skateboard park. Who did it?

I think this proves keeping CCV cameras well maintained and working - is cheaper and better

Re:Criminals Exchange DNA as well as goods (1)

digitig (1056110) | about 4 years ago | (#33958916)

I think this proves keeping CCV cameras well maintained and working - is cheaper and better

Except the popularity of hoodies is partly down to the fact that they obscure the face from CCTV cameras (and partly down to them being comfortable and convenient, of course).

Re:Criminals Exchange DNA as well as goods (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33959198)

no it';s not.

Hoodies are popular with the hoodie crowd because most of that crowd has serious self confidince and self respect problems.

They want to hide from the world.

All you have to do is look at any highschool or college. The kids that are confident dont wear hoodies up all the time. the afraid of their own shadow ones do.

But why ? (1)

twisteddk (201366) | about 4 years ago | (#33958398)

I understand new tech is nice and all.... But what's wrong with a simple camera ? Or a burglar alarm ? Why bother with these high flying ideas ? I understand that insurance is practically non existant for comanies, but how high costs do you really need to incur to "secure" yourself ?
You can't even trace the burglar as I understand it, you have to actually find him, and then test people for the presense of the mist. I dont see this a commercially viable product, even if it pans out as permissable in a court of law.

Re:But why ? (4, Informative)

EdZ (755139) | about 4 years ago | (#33958496)

I've seen stickers in buildings 'armed' with this stuff since the early 90s (my old primary school used it, it came in little bottles with a felt applicator, and the stuff dried out almost instantly so opening one resulted in a mad rush to tag everything). Generally, the idea was not to tag burglars, but instead to stick a dab onto valuable equipment. Because vanishingly few burglars would bother to go over stolen goods with a UV lamp looking for a little glowing patch, and even fewer would then go and acquire the solvents required to remove all traces of the stuff, it generally sticks around better than a simple unpeelable sticker or sand-able etched number. If it got stolen and subsequently recovered, it could then be definitively traced back to a crime. Makes prosecution easier, and helps with insurance (and even getting your stuff back if you can definitively prove it's yours).

Re:But why ? (2, Informative)

AlecC (512609) | about 4 years ago | (#33958504)

Thieves wear hoods, motorcycle helmets, stockings... Alarms go off so often that responses are slow, if at all: a burglar can be in and out long before the alarm is responded to,

Since the spray is highly personalized, you can shine an ultra-violet light on a suspect - which they will have difficulty objecting to - and trace them back to a crime for which you may not even have suspected them. If it is the case, as commonly alleged, that the majority of crime is committed by a small number of people, then you may well be able to nab them for crimes for which you have not (yet) suspected them when you question them for a different crime.

That said, I always have my suspicions of such "miracle inventions". It is worth a try - I look forward to seeing how it works out in practice.

Re:But why ? (1)

twisteddk (201366) | about 4 years ago | (#33958596)

Indeed they wear hoods. And disguise themselves. But if you dont catch the culprit, then what's the point of this particular peiece of invention ? I concur, when you gather up "the usual suspects", you're likely to get a hit once in a while, but IMO an ounce of prevention is orth a pound of cure. I dont really see this product as something the local macdonalds will want to invest in to protect their friers, or even households to protect their TV.

In essense (and I may be wrong here), this product only seems to be able to help with positively idetifying people as having been at a location at a specific time. This is all good and well, for identification and evidence. But we still need to solve the crime and catch the criminal first. So this technology might augment current security measures, but personally, I see a lot of limitations in the usability of the product as a countermeasure against theft.

For home owners, a dog might be cheaper and have a higher preventative effect. If you're not a dog person, marking all of your valuables will perhaps not catch the thief, but have some preventative effect, and let you have your stuff back when the police does their usual cleanups.

For businesses, again this tech is not standalone, so you still have to invest in alarms, cameras, security doors, sensors and what not.

Rahter than look at how well this holds up in court, I'm more intrested in seeing how many crimes this will help solve, that would otherwise have been dropped due to lack of evidence, as that seems to be the "target demographic"

Re:But why ? (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 years ago | (#33958540)

1 - Buy spray synthesiser machine.
2 - Make it known that you offer a safety service to bank robbers: they come to you once sprayed and you make 100l of the substance for them to spray on the streets for a week.
3 - Profit.
4 - ???

Re:But why ? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 4 years ago | (#33959100)

1 - Buy spray synthesiser machine.
2 - Make it known that you offer a safety service to bank robbers: they come to you once sprayed and you make 100l of the substance for them to spray on the streets for a week.
3 - Profit.
4 - ???

5 - Cops find trail ten miles long to lab. They seen interested in sales records.

Re:But why ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33958564)

Alarms can be disabled or worked around by a cunning burglar - they wait until you're closing or opening and jump you while you're setting the alarms up, or disable the land lines and jam the cell towers. They don't need to avoid the alarm being raised - just delay it enough to get in and out. Cameras can't see through hoods or balaclavas, and so serve little purpose when it comes to identifying the culprits - they just serve as a record of what occurred.

Basically, it's only the dumb crooks that get caught out by alarms and cameras - the smarter ones will run recon first so they know what precautions to take.

Even then, a lot of the time the Police will identify a repeat offender, but if they can't *prove* it was them to the degree the courts require then the crim can get off scot free. Offenders know this and so pass on stolen goods before the Police can get a warrant and catch up with them - it's then just a case of denying it and hoping the police don't learn who they passed it onto.

The trick to stuff like this mist is that it marks not only the clothes, but any exposed skin as well, which increases the amount of work the offender has to do to avoid being prosecuted (destroy clothes, scrub the ink off their skin - not easy to do the latter). It still requires policing and detection to actually find them, but should serve to increase the rate of successful prosecutions.

Just as in Network security, if your security is harder to beat than someone else's, you're less likely to be targeted. That is the ultimate purpose of tools like this - to deter someone intent on theft from stealing from _you_.

Re:But why ? (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | about 4 years ago | (#33958896)

"The trick to stuff like this mist is that it marks not only the clothes, but any exposed skin as well, which increases the amount of work the offender has to do to avoid being prosecuted (destroy clothes, scrub the ink off their skin - not easy to do the latter). It still requires policing and detection to actually find them, but should serve to increase the rate of successful prosecutions."

If you can stop an alarm then you can stop this device from spraying you. Somehow this device has to be set off, whether that's linked to a security system, or manually triggered or whatever. If you can stop a guy from arming an alarm system or from hitting a panic button then you can stop him from hitting the "spray the dude with the water" button.

Re:But why ? (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 4 years ago | (#33958574)

Cameras are defeated with masks. Alarms are defeated by getting in and out quickly enough.

Not sure about how useful this is in actual detection and prosecution but I should think an expert witness could quite justfiably state that it is beyond reasonable doubt that they were in that vicinity at the time the mist was being released. If the police do have a suspect with the dye on them they can be reasonably certain they have the right guy and can start building a case.

But I agree. The police do have to catch the guy in the first place.

Re:But why ? (1)

Threni (635302) | about 4 years ago | (#33958954)

Well, you're wrong, aren't you. This stuff has been around years, you see it on security vans next to the words "100% conviction rate". Why have a simple camera? Because they're shit - you ever recognized anyone from a picture from one? Burgler alarm? What's that going to do - make a bit of a noisewhile the burglar is stealing stuff? Why would the thief care about that? When the police eventually manage to capture a thief, they can check his skin/clothes for this stuff and know where he's been stealing from - why else would he have this marker on him?

Of All Places (1)

citoxE (1799926) | about 4 years ago | (#33958418)

Of all places for this to be implemented, it has to be McDonalds. How about implementing this system in places where it actually makes sense, like banks and retail stores? The fact the liquid is visible under UV light seems to be irrelevant because last time I checked, people could easily wash it off or change clothes, and if the evidence is gone, there's an infinite amount of explanations that would satiate a police officer's inquiries.

Re:Of All Places (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33958584)

According to the article, the system is installed in other stores besides McDonald's.

One Giant Step... (1)

Braintrust (449843) | about 4 years ago | (#33958426)

... way too far.

I don't recall there being a referendum on whether the general public would like to inhale synthetic DNA daily. I might have been sleeping.

Needs to be said, however trite, but tech like this is far, far beyond anything Orwell imagined.

 

Oh sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33958434)

But when i go around spraying DNA on random strangers, Even thieves...

They call me a sex offender and put me on a list...

More corporate protection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33958438)

Meanwhile the average householder just has to submit his insurance claim for stolen property and hope that the thief doesn't return too soon.

What an excellent idea! (1)

mim (535591) | about 4 years ago | (#33958440)

Our apartment parking lot has seen more than it's share of youth trespass and several vehicles have sustained damage & theft, but the local police say they need "proof" (though we know who they are, apparently, an eye-witness account is not good enough these days) and I thought a similar strategy would work. Lacking funds for a surveillance system, I strategized that filling a super-soaker type water gun with food colouring & spraying the rotten little thugs could be one solution. "Officer, just look for the purple kid that lives down the street."

Re:What an excellent idea! (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | about 4 years ago | (#33958926)

"apparently, an eye-witness account is not good enough these days"
Of course it's not good enough. I could say that I saw you steal my car, you certainly wouldn't want to be arrested based on that, would you?

The question is, why didn't you go ahead with the super soaker idea? Sounds like it would actually work. If nothing else, it would keep them from coming back.

A More Rational Use of DNA to Fight Crime (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33958442)

As usual Britain is doing everything backwards. They should be focused on prevention and not just react after the fact. If the Brits really wanted to be tough on crime they would take people's DNA before an offense is committed, and then analyze said DNA to determine if it has any crime genes in it. This way criminals could be arrested before any a burglary, rape, or illegal download of RIAA music. An ounce of prevention is worth a British pound of cure.

Signed,

A.C. Troll

Re:A More Rational Use of DNA to Fight Crime (1)

AlecC (512609) | about 4 years ago | (#33958512)

No, what they should do is get a magic wand, wave it, and magic all those criminal genes out of people. And they all lived happily ever after.

Re:A More Rational Use of DNA to Fight Crime (1)

RDW (41497) | about 4 years ago | (#33958690)

'If the Brits really wanted to be tough on crime they would take people's DNA before an offense is committed, and then analyze said DNA to determine if it has any crime genes in it.'

Recent research has shown that the vast majority of criminals carry a single copy of the SRY gene:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SRY [wikipedia.org]

but less than half of people in the general UK population do! We should round up these 'SRY carriers' before they can do any more damage, and re-direct their anti-social tendencies into alternative activities that may still be obnoxious, but should be relatively harmless:

http://www.topgear.com/uk/ [topgear.com]

Re:A More Rational Use of DNA to Fight Crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33958738)

Recent research has shown that the vast majority of criminals carry a single copy of the SRY gene:

The joke here is that "crime" is a purely political construct (hence I added the RIAA reference for good measure... I figured the Moderators would be more apt to 'get it', where-as DNA can only really have unique alleles for specific biological traits (not POLITICAL or social traits; like the tendency of some people to download music, loiter, or watch BSDM videos, which is also now a crime in Britain).

signed,

A.C. Troll

Re:A More Rational Use of DNA to Fight Crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33958806)

And the woosh here is that RDW saw your joke and raised: SRY is the bit of the Y chromosome responsible for balls, which in turn are responsible for maleness in general. (See the wikipedia article he linked for the actual caveats...)

signed,

AC with intact sense of humor

Re:A More Rational Use of DNA to Fight Crime (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 4 years ago | (#33959106)

We should round up these 'SRY carriers' before they can do any more damage, and re-direct their anti-social tendencies into alternative activities that may still be obnoxious, but should be relatively harmless

We already do. "Televised professional sports".

Beware my tiger repellant rock (5, Insightful)

pwilli (1102893) | about 4 years ago | (#33958446)

"The police acknowledge that they have yet to make an arrest based on the DNA mist, which was developed in Britain by two brothers, one a policeman and the other a chemist. But they credit its presence — and signs posted prominently warning of its use — for what they call a precipitous decline in crime rates (though they could not provide actual figures to back that up).

I don't see any burglars, so it has to be working.

No criminals nabbed? No robberies! (1)

SunMar (1806704) | about 4 years ago | (#33958462)

The pilot with the spray was already announced in november 2008, and over I believe 60 stores in Rotterdam have been using it for a while now. McDonalds only recently installed it as well. But to supplement the original article, the DNA-spray has not yet caused a criminal to be nabbed, probably because stores that are outfitted with the spray haven't been robbed in the first place since they installed the spray. Though it still has to be seen how effective the spray is at catching robbers, it for now seems to be at least a great deterrent. Source (translated): http://translate.google.nl/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=nl&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nu.nl%2Fbinnenland%2F2332929%2Fwinkels-met-dna-douche-niet-meer-overvallen.html&act=url [google.nl]

Re:No criminals nabbed? No robberies! (1)

delinear (991444) | about 4 years ago | (#33959002)

It's only really a deterrent in as much as putting a lock on your door when everyone else on the street doesn't have locks is a deterrent. It only works while market penetration is small enough that there are easier targets elsewhere. If this DNA water ever becomes popular enough that it's the norm for everyone to use it, criminals will stop looking for alternative targets and will instead focus on ways to beat the system - that's when we'll see if it's actually any good or not.

The jokes are too obvious (3, Funny)

vidnet (580068) | about 4 years ago | (#33958470)

They're spraying their DNA over customers, and it shows up under a blacklight?

Oh, come on! This is just too easy.

that is a one-time success (1)

kubitus (927806) | about 4 years ago | (#33958474)

they will have to change the DNA marker after one use.

otherwise it will be duplicated and sprayed freely - f.e. on court-staff

Also checking for duplicate natural DNA showing the same pattern has to be done - no one can exclude this!

Re:that is a one-time success (2, Informative)

Shimbo (100005) | about 4 years ago | (#33958500)

they will have to change the DNA marker after one use....Also checking for duplicate natural DNA

Smartwater [wikipedia.org] uses various methods to encode a unique signature. No actual DNA is involved.

Handcuffs? (1)

greenlead (841089) | about 4 years ago | (#33958488)

Can we assign each officer a tag, and have them spray their cuffs with the marker, to prove in court that a particular person was restrained with a particular pair of handcuffs at a particular time? This would be useful for identifying escaped prisoners, especially in cases where a police officer is murdered. If this spray is inexpensive and discrete, it would also be useful for identifying vehicles and similar objects.

"DNA spray" ? (1)

nstlgc (945418) | about 4 years ago | (#33958492)

So, "DNA spray" that is visible under ultraviolet light? They jizz on my pants?

kimyadersi (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33958546)

Thanks Admin kimya dersi [kimyadersi.net]

Old news is old (2, Informative)

fridaynightsmoke (1589903) | about 4 years ago | (#33958568)

I first heard of this stuff about 10 years ago, under the name "SmartWater" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SmartWater [wikipedia.org]

IIRC it won some kind of 'Millenium Award' in 1999 or 2000

! DNA (2, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | about 4 years ago | (#33959316)

As far as I can tell, it's not only not new, but it also has nothing to do with DNA. The marker is either a unique proportion of certain non-evaporating particles, or small engraved chips with a number on them.
DNA has nothing to do with this, even in an abstract sense -- it is not self-replicating, and certainly not biological.

Fantastic (1)

JockTroll (996521) | about 4 years ago | (#33958580)

It will be used against protesters: spray the crowd, then arrest them one by one afterwards when they're all alone. Then subject them to the same old ritual: beating, beating, beating, interrogation, beating, beating, beating, humiliation, beating, beating, beating, defenestration.

Perfect security? (1)

MonoSynth (323007) | about 4 years ago | (#33958598)

And again, here's the typical 'It's perfect because nobody robbed us yet' argument. If only a few percent of the stores are equiped with this 'DNA spray', I'm pretty sure that the criminals will target the other 95+% of the stores with more traditional security measures.

We'll only know if this works if a significant percentage of the jewelries and retail stores in the neighbourhood are equiped with this. Criminals are creative, but above all they're lazy, just like us developers :P

Not just Rotterdam (1)

nickruiz (1185947) | about 4 years ago | (#33958610)

The spray is also used in several other big cities in the Netherlands, including Amsterdam. I saw several locations near Museumplein that had similar spray warnings when I was there this summer.

Last I heard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33958618)

DNA doesn't hold up too well against bleach. One trip through the laundry and this thing would be rendered useless. Of course if you got nailed with a full body spray, you'd best throw away anything that doesn't go in the washing machine.

get away from my sweat you false positive zealot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33958674)

you have the right to remain silent. we (US) seem to be the world champs at that too. we see the queen decommissioning a couple of harriers, etc,,,,,. fuel bills (for the palace) come first? leave the crusading to the annexed colonies for a while?

the corepirate nazi freemason holycost (life, liberty etc...) is increasing by the minute. you call this 'weather'?

continue to add immeasurable amounts of MISinformation, rhetoric & fluff, & there you have IT? that's US? thou shalt not... oh forget it. fake weather (censored?), fake money, fake god(s), what's next? fake ?aliens? ahhaha. seeing as we (have been told that) came from monkeys, the only possible clue we would have to anything being out of order, we would get from the weather. that, & all the other monkeys tipping over/exploding around US.

the search continues; on any search engine

weather+manipulation

bush+cheney+wolfowitz+rumsfeld+wmd+oil+freemason+blair+obama+weather+authors

meanwhile (as it may take a while longer to finish wrecking this place); the corepirate nazi illuminati (remember, (we have been told) we came from monkeys, & 'they' believe they DIDN'T), continues to demand that we learn to live on less/nothing while they continue to consume/waste/destroy immeasurable amounts of stuff/life, & feast on nubile virgins while worshipping themselves (& evile in general (baal to be exact)). they're always hunting that patch of red on almost everyones' neck. if they cannot find yours (greed, fear ego etc...) then you can go starve. that's their (slippery/slimy) 'platform' now. see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisocial_personality_disorder

never a better time to consult with/trust in our creators. the lights are coming up rapidly all over now. see you there?

greed, fear & ego (in any order) are unprecedented evile's primary weapons. those, along with deception & coercion, helps most of us remain (unwittingly?) dependent on its' life0cidal hired goons' agenda. most of our dwindling resources are being squandered on the 'wars', & continuation of the billionerrors stock markup FraUD/pyramid schemes. nobody ever mentions the real long term costs of those debacles in both life & any notion of prosperity for us, or our children. not to mention the abuse of the consciences of those of us who still have one, & the terminal damage to our atmosphere/planet (see also: manufactured 'weather', hot etc...). see you on the other side of it? the lights are coming up all over now. the fairytail is winding down now. let your conscience be your guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. we now have some choices. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on your brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

"The current rate of extinction is around 10 to 100 times the usual background level, and has been elevated above the background level since the Pleistocene. The current extinction rate is more rapid than in any other extinction event in earth history, and 50% of species could be extinct by the end of this century. While the role of humans is unclear in the longer-term extinction pattern, it is clear that factors such as deforestation, habitat destruction, hunting, the introduction of non-native species, pollution and climate change have reduced biodiversity profoundly.' (wiki)

"I think the bottom line is, what kind of a world do you want to leave for your children," Andrew Smith, a professor in the Arizona State University School of Life Sciences, said in a telephone interview. "How impoverished we would be if we lost 25 percent of the world's mammals," said Smith, one of more than 100 co-authors of the report. "Within our lifetime hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live," added Julia Marton-Lefevre, IUCN director general. "We must now set clear targets for the future to reverse this trend to ensure that our enduring legacy is not to wipe out many of our closest relatives."--

"The wealth of the universe is for me. Every thing is explicable and practical for me .... I am defeated all the time; yet to victory I am born." --emerson

no need to confuse 'religion' with being a spiritual being. our soul purpose here is to care for one another. failing that, we're simply passing through (excess baggage) being distracted/consumed by the guaranteed to fail illusionary trappings of man'kind'. & recently (about 10,000 years ago) it was determined that hoarding & excess by a few, resulted in negative consequences for all.

consult with/trust in your creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

all the manuals say we're not to kill each other, & we're mandated to care for/about one another, before any other notion will succeed. one does not need to agree whois 'in charge' to grasp the possibility that there may be some assistance available to us, including from each other. there's also the question of frequent extreme 'distractions' preventing us from following the simple 'directions' we were given, along with everything we needed to accomplish our task. see you there?
boeing, boeing, gone.

pfirst.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33958716)

partner. And 1f

http://www.jerseys-2010.com (1)

amanda5211 (1915578) | about 4 years ago | (#33958724)

[url=http://www.jerseys-2010.com/wholesale nfl jerseys[/url] [url=http://www.jerseys-2010.com/cheap nhl jerseys[/url] [url=http://www.jerseys-2010.com/football jerseys[/url] [url=http://www.jerseys-2010.com/nba shop[/url] wholesale nfl jerseys [jerseys-2010.com] , cheap nhl jerseys [jerseys-2010.com] , football jerseys [jerseys-2010.com] , nba shop [jerseys-2010.com] , wholesale nfl jerseys [jerseys-2010.com] cheap nhl jerseys [jerseys-2010.com] football jerseys [jerseys-2010.com] nba shop [jerseys-2010.com] [url=http://www.hatonsale.com/winter cap[/url] [url=http://www.hatonsale.com/red bull cap[/url] [url=http://www.hatonsale.com/monster hat[/url] [url=http://www.hatonsale.com/new era hats[/url] winter cap [hatonsale.com] , red bull cap [hatonsale.com] , monster hat [hatonsale.com] , new era hats [hatonsale.com] , winter cap [hatonsale.com] red bull cap [hatonsale.com] monster hat [hatonsale.com] new era hats [hatonsale.com] Monster Energy Hats [hatonsale.com] Dc Shoes Ken Block 43 Ford Monster [hatonsale.com] Dc Shoes Ken Block 43 Ford Monster [hatonsale.com] NBA Detroit Pistons [jerseys-2010.com] Reebok NFL Jerseys Philadelphia Eagles [jerseys-2010.com] Kids Kansas City Royals PHILLES [jerseys-2010.com] http://www.jerseys-2010.com/ [jerseys-2010.com] http://www.hatonsale.com/ [hatonsale.com]

Hamburgler's beware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33958750)

although I still dont think it will stop him

In use since 2005!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33958814)

I'm sure I read an article in the last few days saying it had been successful in catching some thieves, which is a good job since it's been in use since 2005: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4458717.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Not just for law enforcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33958832)

How long before this shit gets into the hands of marketers? Imagine RFID chips that tag everything they touch, and can't be easily removed. Just need to invent some kind of passive DNA sniffer and it would be like tracking cookies for meatspace. Bloody marvellous.

Oh, and how long before someone tells us this shit causes cancer or something? Not before everything we eat, wear and handle is drenched in it, I can assure you of that.

Yeah, the future's so fucking bright I'll have to live in an airtight concrete bunker.

Hamburglar (2, Funny)

GodWasAnAlien (206300) | about 4 years ago | (#33958960)

This is an elaborate scheme to finally stop the Hamburglar, the masked hamburger stealer, who the company strangely uses as a commercial icon.

Simpler solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33958976)

How about simple compressed air?

I know for a fact that if you get stuck in a room where a high pressure fire suppression system discharges, you will get burst eardrums and a bloody nose. That blood will link you to that place rather efficiently. No need for fancy custom DNA-laced water and what have you.

In other words: Just install such a system and you'll get free DNA evidence. If you put old-fashioned Halon in the system, the theif won't run away...

Can we put this spray on corporate lobbyists? (3, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | about 4 years ago | (#33959034)

If we can spray this on corporate lobbyists, we can finally identify who is stealing money from our citizen taxpayers.

100% conviction rate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33959252)

In the UK they claim a 100% conviction rate. Hard to have that if it has never been tested in court.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?