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Have Your Fingerprints Read From 6 Meters Away

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the give-'em-the-finger-prints dept.

Privacy 122

First time accepted submitter Burdell writes "A new startup has technology to read fingerprints from up to 6 meters away. IDair currently sells to the military, but they are beta testing it with a chain of 24-hour fitness centers that want to restrict sharing of access cards. IDair also wants to sell this to retail stores and credit card companies as a replacement for physical cards. Lee Tien from the EFF notes that the security of such fingerprint databases is a privacy concern." Since the last time this technology was mentioned more than a year ago, it seems that the claimed range for reading has tripled, and the fingerprint reader business has been spun off from the company at which development started.

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122 comments

Yeah... (3)

MilwaukeeMadAss (2521372) | about 2 years ago | (#40401733)

That won't be abused

Re:Yeah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40401789)

No. No, I think it will.

whoooshhhh..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40402323)

whoooshhhhhhhh

Re:whoooshhhh..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40402381)

It sure is nice of you to explain the sound you are hearing... next time you hear it, look up.

Re:Yeah... (4, Funny)

KingMotley (944240) | about 2 years ago | (#40403683)

I don't know about fingerprints at 6 meters away, but if they come up with a miniature portable through the clothes scanner (ALA TSA) that can scan people from 6 meters away, I'll be happy to take it through a chain of 24-hour fitness centers to beta test it for them.

Gloves (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40401829)

So are we going back to the habit of wearing silk gloves all the time now? I wouldn't mind that.

Re:Gloves (5, Funny)

kanto (1851816) | about 2 years ago | (#40402815)

So are we going back to the habit of wearing silk gloves all the time now? I wouldn't mind that.

Silk gloves for fingerprints, beekeeper suit so as to not shed DNA in the wrong place, mask to obscure facial recognition and a wonky shoes to evade gait detection... Michael Jackson may have been sent from the future.

Re:Gloves (1)

kanto (1851816) | about 2 years ago | (#40402861)

So are we going back to the habit of wearing silk gloves all the time now? I wouldn't mind that.

Silk gloves for fingerprints, beekeeper suit so as to not shed DNA in the wrong place, mask to obscure facial recognition and a wonky shoes to evade gait detection... Michael Jackson may have been sent from the future.

Note to self from the future: invest in stealth casual wear.

Re:Gloves (2)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 2 years ago | (#40404247)

Just have a couple of IR-emitting LEDs on your person. The cameras get flooded, eyeballs can't tell the difference.

Hoods (1)

cstacy (534252) | about 2 years ago | (#40406155)

Just have a couple of IR-emitting LEDs on your person. The cameras get flooded, eyeballs can't tell the difference.

In some states (such as Virginia) it is a felony to hide your face in public (e.g. with a mask or a veil).
http://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2006/toc1802000/18.2-422.html

I predict there will be a federal law soon, saying the same thing about IR lighting your face.

Absolutely not ... (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 years ago | (#40401863)

If a gym, retail store, or credit card company ask for my finger prints, they will get told in no uncertain terms to politely go fsck themselves.

Not happening.

If you aint law enforcement, don't even bother asking.

Re:Absolutely not ... (4, Insightful)

kwiqsilver (585008) | about 2 years ago | (#40401891)

If you aint law enforcement, don't even bother asking.

s/law enforcment/law enforcement with a valid warrant/

Re:Absolutely not ... (5, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 2 years ago | (#40402057)

They don't need a warrant. They just need to arrest you. If you don't think they have a valid reason to arrest you and don't comply then resisting arrest becomes their reason.

You can sue them later, but good luck with that and with getting those prints out of the system.

Re:Absolutely not ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40403239)

They have to have a reason to arrest you. They cannot arrest you for refusing a fingerprinting nor for resisting arrest.

Re:Absolutely not ... (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#40403293)

No, they can arrest you for any reason whatsoever. They can't charge you with a crime without a reason, but that doesn't stop them from arresting you. If the police arrest you and the prosecutor declines to file charges, they must release you, but you don't get your 24 hours or your fingerprint records back.

I always wonder... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40403445)

When I hear stories about people who've been arrested without any valid legal reason, I can't help but wonder "If that's illegal arrest, the cop can't - by definition - be acting in the legal duty of a police officer so it's pretty much a kidnap... what would SCOTUS say if someone would invoke their right to defend themselves and 2nd amendment against illegal arrest?". It sound like something that would - some time during the last few centuries - have occurred. So, what happened?

Re:I always wonder... (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#40403591)

what would SCOTUS say if someone would invoke their right to defend themselves and 2nd amendment against illegal arrest?".

It would never get to SCOTUS. The police would shoot you dead on the spot.

Re:I always wonder... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#40403833)

But it's not up to the person being arrested to make the judgement if it is legal or not, it is for the court to decide...

Re:Absolutely not ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40403533)

How can one be arrested for resisting arrest? In order to resist arrest, the person must already be in the process of being placed under arrest for something else.

If you are arrested for refusing a fingerprinting, the arrest is unlawful and therefore invalid. When they try to fingerprint you after you are in custody, you can refuse and then have that tacked on charge dismissed along with the unlawful arrest. You won't get your 24 hours back, but you can get a sizable cash settlement out of it. Very few police officers will take a risk that large.

Re:Absolutely not ... (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#40403703)

You're expecting the legal system to act logically. The job of the courts isn't to come to the correct and fair conclusion. The job of the courts is to uphold state power.

What actually happens in these cases is that the cop makes up a charge to put on his arrest report. Usually "disorderly conduct" for which he can arrest you. Whether you're actually guilty of that or not doesn't matter, he can arrest you and fingerprint you (and strip search you). He forwards that to the DA, who decides not to file charges.

Sure, you can try to sue if you want. But good luck proving that the arrest wasn't made in good faith. And the worst the officer will see is some paid time off.

Re:Absolutely not ... (4, Informative)

Montezumaa (1674080) | about 2 years ago | (#40403625)

Take it from someone who has actual experience as a law enforcement officer(me), probable cause must exist to effect a legal arrest. The only side note to that is that "Reasonable, Articulable Suspicion"(RAS, based off of experience and other factors, which one must be able to articulate) must exist to initiate a "Terry Frisk"(Also covered as "Terry Stop"), per Terry v Ohio. In that ruling, there must be RAS that a crime is about to be committed, is being committed, or has just been committed. Even then, an arrest can only be made when probable cause is discovered; RAS only provides an officer the authority to initiate a "detention".

I was trained, as well as thousands of other officers, that illegal arrest(which are those that lack probable cause) can be resisted with any force necessary(i.e. the minimum needed), up to and including deadly force. That means that, if a police officer comes up to me, having committed no crime and no probable cause existing to the contrary, and attempts to place me under arrest(cessation of free movement), I may use force to resist such an arrest. Should the officer give me no other alternative, either by drawing his or her firearm or using an instrument that could cause great bodily harm or death, I have the option of using deadly force(a firearm, a ball bat, my new karate death move, or whatever) to resist the illegal arrest.

A word of caution: You had better know that you are in the right. If you are wrong and there was evidence that provides probable cause for an arrest, you have just committed numerous crimes. That and you will have a large body of law enforcement officers out to "cease your free movement".

Re:Absolutely not ... (2)

Montezumaa (1674080) | about 2 years ago | (#40403717)

I would like to add that an illegal arrest is covered under Title 18, U.S.C., Section 242. If two or more officers are involved, a Section 241 could be brought against the officers as well. That will earn the officer(s) quite a few years in a nice US Government establishment.

Re:Absolutely not ... (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#40403827)

Take it from someone who has actual experience as a law enforcement officer(me), probable cause must exist to effect a legal arrest.

In theory, yes. In practice, it's trivial for the cop to make up probable cause, such as assaulting the officers boot with your face. And if the dash cam doesn't support that charge, oops we lost the footage!

Re:Absolutely not ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40403889)

Got any cases to back that up with or are you making stuff up?

Re:Absolutely not ... (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#40404077)

That's why they have the Blue Wall of Silence. Any good cop who turns in a bad cop will find himself outcast and unable to rely on backup when needed. So cops cover for each others criminal activities, and we are unable to get any actual statistics as to law breaking by law enforcement.

Re:Absolutely not ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40404409)

Sure man, it's a conspiracy.

Listen, my brother is a state trooper. One of my friends is a cop. I get into discussions with them about stuff like this all of the time and they would both be scared shitless to try to pull something like a false arrest. This is why most of the officers you meet are very detached, methodical and by the book. They don't want to take even the slightest risk that they could be making a mistake.

There are bad cops out there who would flagrantly lie and abuse their authority, but they are the minority and there are records of good cops taking down bad cops, so forgive me if I am not buying this "wall of silence" theory.

Re:Absolutely not ... (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#40404797)

Has your state trooper brother ever let a speeding off duty cop go because of "professional courtesy"? If so, then he's a corrupt cop. If they do it for speeding tickets, why not assault?

I happen to be an white male adult, so I get by without a lot of hassle from police. But around here, police auditors get fired [omaha.com] for doing their job. And police officers flagrantly break the law [kmtv.com] without even getting charged for it. And internal review [omaha.com] boards are held in secret where no one can witness the whitewashing.

Forgive me if that doesn't inspire confidence in our ability to hold police accountable for their crimes.

Re:Absolutely not ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40404183)

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=loss+of+dashboard+camera+footage

Re:Absolutely not ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40406283)

Dude, it's Hatta. He doesn't need cases to back it up. In his world view, the government can do nothing right, and everybody associated with the government is always 100% corrupt.

Well, unless they're spending on the select few causes he thinks are worth spending other peoples' money on. Then they're okay. But they're probably still stupid. Or corrupt. Or stupid AND corrupt. Maybe inbred, if they're from the south. Or racist. Or authoritarian. Or fascist.

If everyone were as smart as Hatta, the world would be a wonderful place. Just ask him, he'll confirm!

Re:Absolutely not ... (4, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 2 years ago | (#40404733)

Because never in all of history has someone in America been arrested without good reason. And certainly no one has ever been charged with "resisting arrest" and nothing else.

For example:
http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_13686438 [mercurynews.com]
http://articles.philly.com/2010-06-29/news/24962922_1_wawa-officers-civilians [philly.com]

And your word of caution. No it doesn't matter if you are right. If I shoot a cop who was trying to arrest me without valid cause, the fact that he didn't have a valid cause isn't going to stop the "large body of law enforcement officers out to cease my free movement". Just look at the cases of the non-knock warrant being served on the wrong house and the people inside doing what you say and getting shot because they dared defend themselves.

For example:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18328267/ [msn.com]
http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=95475 [go.com]

Re:Absolutely not ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40405587)

Good luck with trying any of that though, resisting arrest will get you banged up no problem, the officers will probably call for backup then you're fucked up really bad from there on out.

Re:Absolutely not ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40405789)

Jason was my cousin.

http://pastebin.com/v8Q8eZ5M

Re:Absolutely not ... (5, Funny)

MilwaukeeMadAss (2521372) | about 2 years ago | (#40402005)

"Hi. Would you like to open an account today with your purchase? You can save 10%! All we ask is a photo ID and email address that we can reach you at. Oh, and we'll also need a scan of your fingerprints, DNA swab and allow us to implant this teeny tiny device at the base of your skill just beneath your skin. What? Oh don't worry, it only transmits audio commercials to your ear every three minutes. I wouldn't recommend standing near a microwave because you'll piss your pants and forget who you are for about an hour or so."

Re:Absolutely not ... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40402015)

Why do they need to ask if they can read it from a distance?

Re:Absolutely not ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40402657)

I can understand a bank asking, but I dont see why even law enforcement should ask for my fingerprints...

Re:Absolutely not ... (2)

rickb928 (945187) | about 2 years ago | (#40402793)

If my gym tells me that the member that body slammed me in the locker room wasn't even in the building at the time, because the video shows some other clown used their card, I'll stil be asking for that member to be sent off. If they can match fingerprints and stop this roided-out putsz at the door, fair enough.

I use my fingerprint AND an RFID card to get into work. And I like my job. Biometrics are coming to you. Prepare.

Re:Absolutely not ... (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#40403103)

I think the point is, if they can read them from 6 meters away, they don't need to ask in the first place. They have your fingerprints the second you walk through the door. Hell, every department store in the country could have the system built into the front door and then follow you about the store with cameras. Basically everything you do, anywhere, will be tracked, logged and used to either get your money or your vote. Welcome to the future.

Re:Absolutely not ... (2)

chrismcb (983081) | about 2 years ago | (#40403343)

My gym does this. I don't participate. Every once in a while they ask if I know about their cardless system. "Yes I know, that is why I don't do it"
"I don't think you guys need my fingerprints."
They always respond with "We don't store your fingerprints." One guy said "we only store a couple of points." Ok, so you don't store the whole fingerprint, just a portion? "No, it is just biometrics."
And what exactly do you think a digital fingerprint is?
Ugh

Re:Absolutely not ... (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 2 years ago | (#40404271)

The gym I go to required my fingerprints.

Of course, I volunteer there, and all the volunteers require a Vulnerable Sector Screening.

Right... (4, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#40401907)

...because there is no way criminal elements could abuse this technology...

I think we've just eliminated fingerprints as a viable identification method.

Re:Right... (1)

Blindman (36862) | about 2 years ago | (#40402313)

At least initially, replicating someone's fingerprints should be too expensive for general use. Most of us wouldn't be worth impersonating.

Re:Right... (4, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#40402347)

For many types of identity theft, often our only defense is that we're not worth impersonating.

Re:Right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40402665)

Depends on the quality of scanner, I suppose. Mythbusters busted one of the (as of several years ago when it aired) better fingerprint scanners with a photocopy of someone's fingerprint.

I wonder what the odds are this 6 meter system can be fooled with a photocopy or picture.

Re:Right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40406215)

3D printer

Re:Right... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40402455)

yep. this device is not magic. it appears to be simply a camera with a decent lens, resolution, and lots of DSP.

it doesn't have security features lots of 0-distance readers have, such as temperature, conductivity, etc. checks.

therefore, highly susceptible to being faked out with e.g. photos of a fingerprint or even gummi fingers.

enjoy ur false sense of security, users of this machine!

Re:Right... (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#40403411)

...because there is no way criminal elements could abuse this technology...

I think we've just eliminated fingerprints as a viable identification method.

Contrary to popular opinion, fingerprints never were a viable method, thanks to confirmation bias.

Proof here [psmag.com]

Re:Right... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#40404883)

Back when signatures were used to verify credit card transactions I had all sorts of problems with them. I injured my hand and couldn't reproduce the signature on my card very well. If we start using fingerprints then a single burn could make it very difficult for a person to live because not only will all their ID become invalid but they won't be able to make new forms of ID as they no longer have any fingerprints.

not a good thing (4, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#40401993)

I don't think perfect identification, be it biometric, technological, or other, is in any way a good thing.

There are perfectly valid reasons for needing or wanting aliases, which are not associated with being a criminal.

Take for instance, employees of a collections agency. These are people who perform a distasteful, but still required service. Nobody really likes being called by a bill collector, nor do they like having to use one to get deadbeat clients to pay up. Deadbeats especially, despise bill collectors, and some are even belligerent enough to be a real physical threat to collection employees. This is why many collections agencies provide work aliases for call center staff, etc. If a foolproof means of identifying people is developed, these employees are at risk.

Then you have the quintessential witness protection program. These are people that have witnessed a violent or serious crime, and are now embroiled through no fault of their own in some serious shit. If Big Tony can perfectly identify them through his ring of heavies using foolproof tech, this program becomes effectively worthless.

and last, but certainly far from least, you have the serious problems with the Feds, and their "Papers Please!" abuses. History does a fine job of explaining, in graphic, nightmare inducing detail, exactly why perfectly being identifiable by government officials is bad bad juju.

People making startups, and companies offering products:

I understand that there is a very strong demand for this kind of technology. Please also understand exactly *why* there is a demand for this kind of technology, and what it opens the door to. Is landing a fat contract and making bank worth endangering people's lives, and being directly complicit in abuses of power that very well inevitably kill people really worth it?

I personally dont think it is.

This kind of technology, in the broad and general sense, is not a good thing. Please stop developing it.

Re:not a good thing (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40402107)

Pandora's box of technology is already open. Our only option now is to try to shape the future, not return to the past. Don't close it with hope still inside.

Re:not a good thing (2, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#40402173)

Take for instance, employees of a collections agency. These are people who perform a distasteful, but still required service. Nobody really likes being called by a bill collector, nor do they like having to use one to get deadbeat clients to pay up. Deadbeats especially, despise bill collectors, and some are even belligerent enough to be a real physical threat to collection employees. This is why many collections agencies provide work aliases for call center staff, etc. If a foolproof means of identifying people is developed, these employees are at risk.

If you fear being associated with your employer, perhaps you should work someplace else? Also, you seem like a very judgmental person - I mean "deadbeats"? Have you conseidered the current economic environment and the fact that a LOT of people have lost their jobs?

Re:not a good thing (4, Informative)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#40402519)

It doesn't matter what the circumstances are, really. If you take out a huge debt, then default, and then refuse to pay, you are a deadbeat client.

A collections agency deals exclusively with such clients. Some are honest people who have had a serious problem happen, such as a death in the family, a serious illness, or injury. Most of the people I know who work in collections are more than happy to work out an equitable payment plan for such people, if they can prove their condition.

The problem, is that there are also "Dedicated deadbeats" out there. They game the system for all it is worth, rack up debts of unbelievable amounts, then move, change their names, liquidate their on-credit purchases for cash, and settle somewhere else, leaving other people to hold the bag of their shit. These people invent sob stories all the time, hoping to weasle out of their obligations. Dealing with these people makes collections people innately distrustful and cynical.

I actually interned at a collection agency for awhile. I got to see just what percentages of the debtors were real, diehard deadbeats. we are talking people with a paper file that weighs 10 pounds, with 50 aliases.

These people far outnumber the honest debtors. Most honest people will try to bend over backwards to pay a bill before it reaches a collection agency. The people collection agencies deal with are the people that absolutely refuse to pay, despite being notified for months on end, as a usual practice.

Collection agencies are like trash collectors. They are not a glamorous vocation, and like trash collectors, being one puts you at risk. Trash collectors get unregistered medical waste from things like insulin syrenges in the trash that could stick them. They get exposed to all kinds of toxic chemical shit. Bill collectors have to work with people that would rather kill the bill collector than pay the bill.

As much as you seem to hate the bill collectors, they provide a valuable and essential service to modern society. There is no such thing as a free lunch, and often times, the bill collectors are all that stands between a glut of people gaming the system, and ruining it for everyone else.

Do you like running water? Electricity? Those services are not free to provide, and paying the people to provide them is how you get them. Most bills processed at the company I interned at were utility bills. With people wanting free utilities, by getting them in other people's names, under false names, and abusing the system in so many ways i cant even describe them all.

Contrary to what you might believe, a collections agency *CAN* pull your credit history, and see that while you owe a huge ass debt, you also spent 1000$ on a new laptop at newegg. As such, when you give a sob story about being laid off, they arent going to believe you. That 1000$ could have paid your 500$ debt, and left some over. Why didnt you make an effort to pay your debt?

Again, for the people who really *ARE* impoverished, their histories will clearly show that. You would be surprised how a properly informed agency can actually benefit such a debtor.

But of course, you hate collections people, because they make people pay what they legally owe.

but thanks for the derail anyway.

Re:not a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40402791)

You missed one subset: people who were defrauded by an illegitimate business, such as the timeshare industry which has illegal go-on-forever contracts. Sometimes people will simply stop paying on these contracts in an effort to get out from under them, and if they pay even one penny, owe the whole amount- but if they don't pay at all, they stand a good chance of getting out from under that debt in bankruptcy court eventually, as the original contract was indentured servitude to begin with.

Re:not a good thing (1)

garbut (1990152) | about 2 years ago | (#40403645)

I don't think it's fair to use the term deadbeats to refer to everyone who can't repay their debts. Some are unable to repay through no fault of their own. It's a mathematical certainty and the banks are aware of it. They created the system that causes it.

Money is created as debt [youtube.com]. The principal comes into existence whenever money is borrowed from the bank - the bank just creates it out of thin air [youtube.com]. If there were no debt, there would be no money.

One of the problems with the system is that the interest is not created. It's only the delay before the repayment is due versus growth in the overall debtload that keeps the pyramid scheme running. Total debt must increase at an ever-accelerating rate just to keep the system from crashing. Otherwise the number of people who can repay their debts is easily calculated as P / (P + I). The rest will find there simply isn't enough money in the economy to make payments on time.

Re:not a good thing (1)

kanto (1851816) | about 2 years ago | (#40404319)

Money comes to existence when it's borrowed from _central_ banks and the interest paid to the central bank ensures that the money has to be invested. As for the idea that it's a pyramid scheme I think it's a bit ridiculous, it's like saying the ever increasing production of goods and services in the economy itself isn't real and the only thing that is real is money.

The value of money comes from the fact that it's the legal currency and people are allowed to themselves value it as they wish. I'd hate to think what would happen if we wen't back to gold standard (or something else); the amount of gold it'd require to "backup" the economy would hurt industries that actually use the stuff, central banks couldn't do squat in resessions and everything would hinge on this one element.

Re:not a good thing (1)

garbut (1990152) | about 2 years ago | (#40404777)

I'm not sure of your point.

Re:not a good thing (2)

kanto (1851816) | about 2 years ago | (#40405567)

If I understood you correctly you claim having to pay interest on loans is the cause why people default on their them, unless of course the central bank continuously loans more money to cover the "gap". I'm saying this doesn't take into account the fact that most of the time economies themselves grow and increase the wealth associated with them that is then used to pay the loans. Although the economy can't print money it can offset the "gap" by growing.

Re:not a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40403791)

You also missed out on people who the original debt was to were actually paid, but paperwork was done improperly and so the debt gets sold to collections anyway.

Or where the payment was made, but the company didn't cash the check, but sent it to collections within a few days of the due date despite sitting on a check.

Or who have set up payment plans with a company, that their financial people agreed to, but sold the debt to a collections agency after a couple of months of getting payments becuase it was taking too long.

But then again, rereading your comment, I can tell you will not think rationally about debt collecters as you seem to love them for some reason.

Re:not a good thing (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#40405815)

Most of those are known as "abusive debt practices", and are illegal.

Don't misunderstand me here:

There are *plenty* of abusive creditors, and plenty of abusive collections agencies.

Sitting on a received check, or worse, cashing it and not crediting a balance, both have federal level restitutions and penalties, along with a whole lot of other abusive things.

The information on consumer protection is freely available. In addition to federal consumer protection, you may also be able to seek state level remedies for additional practices that your individual state deems unconscionable.

My home state especially is very aggressive in terms of the statutes and laws put down, that make the federal penalties look like chump change.

I appreciate collections agencies as a necessary thing for modern society. I do not however, give them carte blanc. They have rules and laws they have to abide by, and if they don't follow them, they are criminals, and need to be punished.

The specifics of what is and is not considered an abusive business practice differs from state to state. Check the internet, then check the legal section of your local library. If you believe you are being illegally abused during collections, contact a lawyer, and see to it.

Many of the larger collections agencies rely on people not knowing their rights and protections under the law, and illegally bully their debtors, because the illegal practices are easy, and effective, and the debtor doesn't know that they can devour the collections people like a diabetic in a candy store. (For instance, my home state has penalties of 10,000$ PER INFRACTION, Itemized, on some common offenses!)

Good collections agencies do things on the up and up, but becoming jaded and cynical causes them to become vindictive and fall into abusive practices. They then become bad collections agencies. That is why those laws exist. If you have problems with abusive collectors, learn what your rights and protections are, and seek legal remedy.

Don't complain to me about nasty collections calls.

Get off your butt, educate yourself, and take decisive lega action on your own behalf.

Re:not a good thing (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#40404375)

But if these deadbeats who try and game the system could be positively identified it would stop the problem before it happens. If you take fraud from the mix, you take away a lot of the problems with lending money, probably at the cost of many jobs in the collections industry.

Re:not a good thing (1)

icongorilla (2452494) | about 2 years ago | (#40406217)

I have tried to talk to a collection agency and they only threatened me. That is why I will be hanging myself. the FUCKS ARE NOT SENDING ME HOMELESS AGAIN. THE FUCK ARE NOT PURPROSFULLY INJURING ME AGAIN.

We have a system set up to catch the young into school loans before they know what they are getting into. I should have known better being a worthless legless shit. But that is what the collection agency was there to tell me. To also threaten me into work where I permaniently injured my hand on top of it.

I think the best thing I can do for socoety now is to hang myself in from on a high school with a note to warn the children of things before they get into it with a note on my chest. The plan is to do that when my current artificial leg snaps in half since I have no money to fix it and the collectors took away my medicaid.

Re:not a good thing (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40403639)

He's being accurate:
Deadbeat
(n)
1. One who does not pay one's debts.
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/deadbeat

Re:not a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40402191)

It's a good thing, then, that there is no such thing as perfect identification.

Would love to be there when the credit card companies laugh these guys out of their offices.

Re:not a good thing (0)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 years ago | (#40402225)

...

Take for instance, employees of a collections agency. These are people who perform a distasteful, but still required service. Nobody really likes being called by a bill collector, nor do they like having to use one to get deadbeat clients to pay up. Deadbeats especially, despise bill collectors, and some are even belligerent enough to be a real physical threat to collection employees. This is why many collections agencies provide work aliases for call center staff, etc. If a foolproof means of identifying people is developed, these employees are at risk.

Seriously dude, WTF?

Collection agencies are scum of the earth. They buy, in bulk and for very cheap, your debts, then harass you and your family to pay the bills. There has been numerous laws put on the books to protect people from bill collectors, mainly from the tactics that these people use.

These Collection Agencies are NOT any different then the Law firms that sue you on "behalf" of the Entertainment Industry.

In case you don't understand, lets put this in perspective. I owe you $50, and I haven't paid you yet, for whatever reason. You get tired of waiting, so you sell my debt of $50 to someone for lets say, $5. So are you going to be surprised when I don't pay that person $50? In fact, since I never had an agreement with that person, I do NOT plan on paying him shit. If you are stupid enough to sell my debt to you, then you just lost out your chance of getting your money.

And since you don't seem to understand, sometimes life sucks and you get behind in payments. Now, you might be able to pull yourself out, but a lot of times they won't work with you. You pay the $500 you owe now, or we send it to the collection agency. How you going to pay $500 now if you got no money? Does that make you a deadbeat? With the economy how it's been, fuck no. Banks get bailed out, people get shit on.

Re:not a good thing (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#40402287)

actually, I know people who used to run a collections agency. (now retired)

Most agencies that are worth a shit will work with clients to get a suitable arrangement going.

The problem is that many people refuse to make any effort at such an arrangement, or demand an arrangement that is unworkable for the collection agency. (The agency at most gets around 30% of the value of the bill. this means that your 100$ bill to little ceasar's is only worth 30$ to the bill collector. This is why they refuse to accept 5$ a month as a payment plan for it.)

They are not the scum of the earth.

The scum of the earth, are the people who take out a debt they have no intention of ever paying back. Bill collectors are a last resort for all parties involved. They wouldnt exist without deadbeats.

Re:not a good thing (2)

kwiqsilver (585008) | about 2 years ago | (#40402435)

You might not like collections agencies, but they do perform a legitimate service. If the bank merely dropped the debt, they'd have to raise fees (or cry for more bailout money) to cover the losses, and the rest of us would end up paying. I've never dealt with a collections agency from the other side, but I have written code for a sub-prime lender, and met a few in-house collections people. They weren't "scum of the earth" they were people trying to convince someone to uphold his part of an agreement. Without them, the company would have probably gone out of business, laying off hundreds of people and denying thousands, who could not get an account at a normal bank, access to banking services.

Vultures might not be pretty, but without them, there'd be rotting corpses all over the places.

It is a good thing (1)

icongorilla (2452494) | about 2 years ago | (#40402445)

It is a good thing. Right now we only have partial anonimity. I'm going to be threatened for the rest of my life for being a gimp and having problems with work. I have talked with the collectors and they do not help. In fact they ignore you and hide until you threaten legal action.

I lost my leg to cancer when I was 12. I had to stop school because of issues with my fake leg interfering with my concentration as well as making friends. But by then it was already too late.

I don't get any anonymity. In fact, when I hang myself from the threats, they are going to act like they had no clue what happnened. They already sent my homeless once. They took my medicaid away. They took my leg away. They want me to hang myself. With no way to fix my prostetic leg and no one wanting to take "responsibility" because of their bill collecting anonymity, it is obvious this is the end that the system wants.

Re:not a good thing (1)

steelfood (895457) | about 2 years ago | (#40403813)

For every lock that was developed, there's also a lockpick.

It's the same for this. Just need to come up with a good lockpick. Something easy and ubiquitious enough that every person probably already possesses it.

Facial recognition can be defeated easily with a hood or a brimmed hat. Fingerprints can be defeated with gloves. And if certain services become draconian, then simply vote with your wallet.

Time to wax those fingertips. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40402041)

Or just wear gloves.

Frosty piss (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40402055)

captcha = woosgow!

Something you have, something you know, (3, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 2 years ago | (#40402079)

Something you are. This is just one of three.

It's funny they talk about not being connected to major crime databases - your employer would have a local copy that would be used for building access. Sure right up until they passed it off as part of your background check they'll run on everyone now. All part of your 90 day probationary period!

Re:Something you have, something you know, (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#40402311)

The thing is, in case of compromise altering the stuff you have and the stuff you know is far easier than altering the stuff you are. For example, how would you easily replace a thumbprint?

6 feet, 6 meters (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | about 2 years ago | (#40402137)

Something got lost in translation, I guess...

Re:6 feet, 6 meters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40403145)

"Something got lost in translation, I guess"

European fingerprints are 2.54 times too big.

Get some tin foil... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40402185)

and make a pair of gloves

Fingerprints != valid method of identificaton (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40402203)

There are several problems with this technology most importantly how it will be used.

#1.) Cops will use it like minority report. WOOO we know where you are

#2.) This leads to number 2. Computers are not really used to perform fingerprint analysis. Yes, they can shorten the list but, in the end, its always a human who decides if its a "match"

#3.) There is no standard protocol for deciding if two fingerprints match. It is completely subjective. The IAI has flat out said they won't create a protocol because its not possible

#4.) There is no predictable margin of error. Frankly with no protocol and 100% subjective human interpretation, there is no way to quantify the probability of a match or more importantly, the margin of error.....heck, fingerprint analysts have been shown to make different identification to the same prints on different days and in different context.

#4) fingerprint analysis operates on the assumption that all fingerprints are unique (or unique within a reasonable margin of error). There has never been any evidence to support this assumption. Even the FBI with probably the worlds largest fingerprint database has never published any data suggesting finger prints are unique.

This all leads to the worst part. Law Enforcement will put this in an automated system to read our prints around town and assume its good enough to harass, arrest and convict citizens.

I don't like where this is going.

Dont get me wrong, its cool tech. Its just going to make a mess of things

Re:Fingerprints != valid method of identificaton (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#40403449)

You forgot #5. The courts don't really care about #1-4, and will reject any challenges to fingerprint evidence.

Re:Fingerprints != valid method of identificaton (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40405047)

Oh, I know its a precedence issue. If they over turn 1 case on a fingerprint challange, they have to re-open millions.

Fingerprints are reasonably reliable. they just arnt valid.

Re:Fingerprints != valid method of identificaton (1)

dublin (31215) | about 2 years ago | (#40405855)

Actually, it's always seemed to me that the biggest problem with fingerprint identification is that everyone leaves the silly things all over the place all the time - imagine a world where everything you touch is left with a copy of your house and car keys.

Seriously, since we've have advanced cyanocacrylate-enhanced gummy bear fingerprint recovery and duplication technologies [slashdot.org] for over a decade now, why does anyone even *think* that fingerprints are a secure ID/auth method anymore?

Unless we all actually do start wearing gloves to protect us from the obvious flaws in this technology, how would anyone prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the presence of your fingerprints at a particular place and time really corresponded to *your* presence at that place and time? There's simply no plausible way to prevent fingerprint theft by anyone that can get in reasonably close proximity to you. (And I imagine the quality of prints lifted from the oleophobic glass of a modern touchscreen is outstanding...)

Micahel Jackson knew this was coming (3, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#40402207)

...but was unsure how he felt, hence the one glove.

Hey, guys, scan this fingerprint. Yeah, the one on my middle finger, that's right.

It's not as bad as it sounds (4, Informative)

kwiqsilver (585008) | about 2 years ago | (#40402233)

After a little RTFA time, I don't think it's quite like the blurb makes it sound. The system can't scan dozens of people walking down a sidewalk (unlike the facial recognition technology used in most "free" countries today). The user has to actively wave at it to allow it to scan.

One concern the article raised is that it appears the prints are stored on the machine as an image (or perhaps a series of numbers describing the layout) rather than a cryptographically secure hash of the print. So if you steal the system, you get a bunch of free pictures of people's prints...and you probably get all of the prints on the hand, since they would likely scan every digit and compare it to the database. As prints become a more common means of identification, those boxes become as valuable as credit card and SSN databases. Although I'm sure the security of 24-hour Fitness and Target are second to none.

... this means fingerprints can't be used for ID (3, Interesting)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 years ago | (#40402239)

If someone needs to lift finger prints from a subject it has traditionally meant that someone needs to get him to touch something. With this, a guy can walk behind you, take a few pictures without ever touching you, and have your finger prints printed out in rubber.

Rather then giving us a better way to use finger prints... this means we have to go to retina scans.

There has to be a better way.

Re:... this means fingerprints can't be used for I (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40402449)

There has to be a better way.

Rectal Scans

Re:... this means fingerprints can't be used for I (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#40404661)

Its just a camera. Anyone can do this anyway with a good enough camera. Its not really news until they can use real-time image recognition to scan peoples finger prints as they walk down the street, like they do with car number plates.

No worries... (3, Interesting)

Panaflex (13191) | about 2 years ago | (#40402579)

Nobody will every buy it. Except for government, fingerprint security is largely dead dead dead.

First off, fingerprints can be replicated. Secondly, these types of optical systems have a (relatively) high failure rate (dust, smudges, adverse lighting conditions, etc). Next, they don't work with anyone under the age of 18 with reliability (the ridges and such vary considerably in size). Lastly - it freaks out the customers.

Anyone that thinks fingerprint security is going to succeed in the market is delusional at best. Been there, spent millions, done that. No matter how good the system is or how safe the fingerprints are it just isn't going to be good enough for anything other than a door lock.

Glove time (1)

gti_guy (875684) | about 2 years ago | (#40402583)

Great! Now I have to wear gloves whenever I'm in public. And I though wrapping my RFID cards in aluminum foil was bad!!!

Angular resolution (3, Interesting)

Burb (620144) | about 2 years ago | (#40402641)

Hang on, what about the angular resolution of visible light at 6m, with indents in surely being 0.1mm? Can we get high enough resolution Is that even possible? How fast must the picture be taken to avoid blurring?

No, haven't RTFA. So sue me.

Re:Angular resolution (1)

ModelX (182441) | about 2 years ago | (#40402941)

Hang on, what about the angular resolution of visible light at 6m, with indents in surely being 0.1mm? Can we get high enough resolution Is that even possible? How fast must the picture be taken to avoid blurring?

The resolution is doable. There's a tradeoff between speed and noise. What you can do is take many pictures, align them and take a sum to get rid of some noise. If my memory serves me the noise will go down with the square root of the number of pictures. Or just pump up the light in say infrared spectrum, if you have 10 times illumination you can cut the exposition time to 1/10 and get about the same quality.

Re:Angular resolution (1)

wikdwarlock (570969) | about 2 years ago | (#40402945)

This is my feeling as well. This is surely _NOT_ fingerprint imaging as they would have you believe. My quickie calculations say a 0.1mm ridge is about 3.5 arcseconds wide at a 6m distance. And that's if you assume perfect edges and a static finger. This is likely some pattern recognition on the shape, size, and orientation of the parts of your finger. Tip radius, length to knuckle, width, etc. Sounds like typical misleading marketspeak to me.

I have an idea (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#40402687)

Let's compare it to similar technology like, I don't know, touch fingerprint readers that have a misread ratio of like 25%+. Considering that, there's this even more cutting edge new startup called any hardware store anywhere that lets you painlessly remove your fingerprints with proprietary technology known as sand paper. You'd look less suspicious than someone with gloves and it'd just come up as a misread or fail to read. Maybe 100 years from now you'd be a 1 in 1000 that gets a "OMG NO FINGERPRINTZ!" reading but not today.

Not Real (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40402695)

The company's web site www.idairco only claims 1.5 meters.

There is no data on reliability of the read. No price. No model numbers. No ordering info.

I call shenanigans. This is a not-yet real product.

Thanks a lot but.. (1)

Badger Nadgers (2423622) | about 2 years ago | (#40402839)

I'm quite happy with my finger prints saying about 3ft away in a rather handy position. They'd be a bit hard to control at twice the distance.

How about I DON'T give you the finger.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40405383)

..and you give me my phonecall?

Not when I'm wearing gloves... (1)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | about 2 years ago | (#40406079)

heh, heh...

Then there's the idea of wearing someone else's fingerprints on your fingers, like James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever. How long after this long-range reading technology comes out before some enterprising criminal starts selling other people's fingerprints already built in to some sort of finger covers?

Seriously, this sort of thing should be made illegal - even for cops.

OTOH, it seems to me you'd have to approach someone from the rear because when most people walk, their hands are facing to the REAR or to their sides...So how do you get a decent scan from the front? Or at all, for that matter? Your fingers are usually cupped.

I suspect this technology will prove more than useless once really deployed in the field.

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