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High Security Handcuffs Opened With 3D-Printed and Laser-Cut Keys

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the enjoy-your-stay-on-the-watch-list dept.

Security 202

Sparrowvsrevolution writes "In a workshop Friday at the Hackers On Planet Earth conference in New York, a German hacker and security consultant who goes by the name 'Ray' showed that he could open high-security handcuffs from manufacturers Chubb and Bonowi with plastic copies of keys that he cheaply produced with a laser-cutter and a 3D printer. Both companies attempt to control the distribution of their keys to keep them exclusively in the hands of authorized buyers such as law enforcement. Lasercut plexiglass versions of the Chubb key, which opens handcuffs like the ones used in passenger airline restraints, were selling for $4 at the conference. Ray plans to post the CAD file for the key on the 3D printing site Thingiverse after LockCon later this week."

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202 comments

Mcgyver (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40667989)

Mcgyver used a bar of soap and a file to copy keys. Color me unimpressed.

Re:Mcgyver (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668197)

MacGyver (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088559/). Not offensive to some, but the difference between a Mc and a Mac is like calling a Suni a Shiite to others.

Re:Mcgyver (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668217)

"Suni a Shiite to others"

...which, is a bad thing, I guess??

Re:Mcgyver (2)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about 2 years ago | (#40668261)

Oh yes, if you get your timing wrong. It's very similar to the Catholic/Protestant schism, which is in turn related to the differences in Mc/Mac, which is an Irish Gaelic v Scots Gaelic thing. Sort of. It's pretty blurred these days though, I've never heard anyone get upset about it. [/scottish]

Re:Mcgyver (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#40668449)

They will forgive you if you hand them a bottle of fine single malt Irish whiskey though.

I'm taking the Irish or Scotts... I'm certain the middle eastern fellows will cut off your head for offering them booze.

Re:Mcgyver (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40669091)

No, no it's not. I'm irish, as in grew up there and you won't find a soul north or south who would be offended if you got MacGyver's names wrong. But good job trying to justify being a smug internet pillock.

Re:Mcgyver (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40669247)

This site should just change it's name to "Witless Piffle"

Re:Mcgyver (2)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 2 years ago | (#40668241)

I've successfully copied a few keys (different types but common) using a Xerox copy of the key, some tape, cardboard, an exacto knife, and a key copying machine - simply tape xerox of key to cardboard, cut out carefully with exacto knife, run result thru key duplicator..

Re:Mcgyver (3, Interesting)

Smallpond (221300) | about 2 years ago | (#40669261)

Really? I've tried using an actual key and a key duplicator and it still doesn't work half the time. Tolerances are really tight on good locks.

Re:Mcgyver (4, Interesting)

jaymemaurice (2024752) | about 2 years ago | (#40669675)

Since most locks use standard tubler sizes, the key code (tubler measurements) can be determined from a photograph of the keys and then cut from the keycode

"cheaply produced" (1)

Narrowband (2602733) | about 2 years ago | (#40668001)

Materials might be cheap, but if it requires both a laser cutter and a 3d printer, that's not exactly what I'd call cheap to produce.

Re:"cheaply produced" (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668041)

If you actually read the article, you'll find that he produced keys with a laser cutter and separately with a 3D printer. You don't need both.

Re:"cheaply produced" (2)

nighthawk243 (2557486) | about 2 years ago | (#40668513)

Well... if you peddle those keys to people in the hood, you'll make a few bucks pretty quick to pay for the machine and probably turn a profit.

see (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668027)

See, that's why they should simply use magical warding and locking spells. Then anyone trying to escape would have to get a really lucky die roll to overcome the caster level of the original lock spell.

identical? (1)

Dthief (1700318) | about 2 years ago | (#40668033)

are all of their keys identical?

Re:identical? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668047)

Is ur dick identical to mine?

Re:identical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668053)

i suppose that would depend on your definition of identical

Re:identical? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668087)

No, mine isn't in some guy's ass.

Re:identical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668137)

Neither is his. They only let him catch.

Re:identical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668061)

It's called mass production. Produce everything the same and it costs less. They probably match perfectly. The question is does it matter? As long as people can't get out easily (and who is going to have one of these things on them when they get busted?) does it matter if the public has copies? I doubt it. It's not like these things are impossible to get out of if you know what you are doing. The other thing is cops pat people down for a reason. If you got keys they will probably find them.

Re:identical? (5, Informative)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 years ago | (#40668101)

It has nothing to do with mass production. The reason is so that any officer can open any other officer's cuffs and time is lot lost trying to find the arresting officer and sorting out who owns which cuffs..

Re:identical? (3, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#40669577)

So for the sake of convenience, they made the keys identical and therefore not secure. Same as any other security system: convenience and security are incompatible goals.

Re:identical? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668133)

...It's not like these things are impossible to get out of if you know what you are doing...

That would be the rub. They are quite hard to defeat compared to normal cuffs. Having an interest in the lockpicking community I can say hardly the top 5% of them could get out of these with improvised tools. Making a tool out of scrap bits of plastic makes them easy for anyone to get out of.

Anything a laser-cutter or 3D printer can do so can a human, especially locksmiths with an eye for detail. The skills are not dissimilar to watchmakers before precision machine tools. These new methods makes anyone of no skill and no talent be able to do what only highly trained, highly practiced people can do. That is a security threat.

Re:identical? (5, Informative)

smart_ass (322852) | about 2 years ago | (#40668135)

There have been commercially available disguised handcuff keys for a long time.
This one isn't terrible, but not the best I have seen either.

http://theawesomer.com/bracelet-with-handcuff-key/144904/ [theawesomer.com]

Note: The people most likely to want to get away after being apprehended are both guilty AND repeat offenders. The second factor being a group that might have the foresight to wear such a thing.

Re:identical? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668557)

Note: The people most likely to want to get away after being apprehended are both guilty AND repeat offenders. The second factor being a group that might have the foresight to wear such a thing.

Wrong. I want to get away after being apprehended illegally.

You know--if the police decide to kidnap and beat me [t.co] ....or just beat the shit out of me while other offices stand by and watch^H^H^H^Hfigure out their cover stories [bit.ly] ....Maybe they'll just handcuff you and take you back to their torture chair [blogspot.se] to let you die...or your baby [bit.ly] .

Maybe you should do nothing. You'll get your day in court, right? I mean--this is the United States of America where we have due process and a fair trial. The government would never fuck with that [policemisconduct.net] perfect system.
Resist. Always resist [blogspot.se] .

Re:identical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40669369)

Thank you for destroying half of the links in your post. Well, at least you didn't reach the character limit...

Re:identical? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40669447)

WTF is wrong with normal URLs people?!
If you want me to follow a link then post the orignal link.

Re:identical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40669779)

So you open the handcuffs and then provide justification to the offending officer to continue?

Re:identical? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668607)

A few years ago someone arrested in Tampa had a key in their back pocket, not found during the frisk, and managed to get loose and killed 3 cops. Not saying its common, but your impossible situation has happend in the recent past with the worst possible outcome. The criminal always carried the key with him anticipating trouble with police.

http://tampabayonline.net/reports/shooting/carrday2.htm

Re:identical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668981)

"(and who is going to have one of these things on them when they get busted?)"

The word you're looking for is 'criminals'. They even sometimes use masks in advance, so people don't recognize them if they get surprised. It's called 'preparation for the job'.

Re:identical? (2)

Zaelath (2588189) | about 2 years ago | (#40668071)

It's pretty standard to have identical cuff keys... the guard opening them after you go into the cell is unlikely to be the arresting officer that put them on you.

I guess the issue here is they at least need something like a magnetic component to be somewhat secure, but I imagine there's actually very little you can do to make a lock that's immune to being defeated if you have infinite prep time.

Re:identical? (3, Interesting)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 years ago | (#40668091)

Did you read the article? All handcuff keys for a certain brand are identical. That is to allow one officer to handcuff a suspect and any other officer to remove the cuffs. The issue is that the arresting officer may not be anywhere around when the suspect needs to be uncuffed as the suspect may have been passed on for transport. This is the way handcuff keys work. Manufacturers are now trying to restrict the possession of keys by being selective to whom they sell. The printer/laser cutter method of making keys now makes this effort useless.

Re:identical? (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#40668173)

Seemed like a dumb strategy anyway - a combination of artificial scarcity and security-by-obscurity. It isn't like the keys look particularly complex. In the 'olden days' somebody could have just created a mold and cast them or machined a copy. The laser cutter / 3D printer is just the modern twist.

A pair of bolt cutters also works in a pinch.

Re:identical? (4, Interesting)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 years ago | (#40668317)

No matter how complex the key bolt cutters usually work but it is rather difficult to conceal a set of bolt cutters big enough to do the job on one's person and bolt cutters that large are not all that common. Hand cuff components are made of hardened steel and a small set will not work.

Hand cuffs are and never have been completely secure. They are more secure than the cuffs that have been around for years as those keys are very common now but they are less secure than hoped.

There used to be one key that would open every handcuff in current use. Now there are at least three different ones. Even this makes things more secure as the suspect has to have at least three keys to ensure escape. Three keys are much more difficult to conceal than one. Officers can easily carry three keys on their key ring. It is not about making escape impossible; just more difficult.

Also they aren't meant to be super-secure (5, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 2 years ago | (#40668333)

Handcuffs are just a quick and easy way of ensuring someone can't cause too much trouble. When your hands are held behind your back, you can't make much mischief in general. They aren't intended to be something to hold someone securely for long periods. Just to temporarily restrain someone for transport.

As such it isn't like the keying system has to be top notch. It is far more important that they are easy to unlock than that they are ultra-secure.

For that matter at times the police will just use what are more or less large zip-ties. Plastic flexi-cuffs are easy and cheap to use in a riot situation. They aren't very secure, they can be easily cut off and indeed that is what the police themselves do, but you can cheaply have a bunch of them if needed.

LockCon? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668051)

The fact that he managed to make a key for these doesn't surprise me at all.

The fact that there is a LockCon on the other hand.....

Re:LockCon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40669413)

Of course there is. How else do you think one could keep track of everybody with lockpicking skills?

Endless Cycle (5, Funny)

Master Moose (1243274) | about 2 years ago | (#40668073)

Now lets say this type of key creation is outlawed. .

Create handcuff keys
Be put in handcuffs
Use Key. Escape

It will be like bribing Law enforcement with counterfeit cash

How much does it actually matter? (2)

erice (13380) | about 2 years ago | (#40668121)

The thing about having one's hands in cuffs is that it is pretty difficult to unlock the handcuffs even you if had and could reach the key. Presumably, the first result is wide spread key availability is that your pockets are searched at the time the cuffs go on.

For the laser cut keys to really work, you need an accomplice and to be essentially unguarded.

Re:How much does it actually matter? (5, Interesting)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 years ago | (#40668355)

it is pretty difficult to unlock the handcuffs even you if had and could reach the key

Difficult is not impossible and with enough practice difficult becomes easy.

Keys can be in the mouth, swallowed, in a seam, in a concealed compartment in a belt loop, etc. There are many places to carry a key that will get by most searches. There was one instance where a man has a pouch surgically installed in his cheek just big enough to hold a handcuff key. Many "escape artists" conceal keys on their person for their acts and these keys are not found by the spectators, sometimes police officers, who search them.

So no, an accomplice is not necessary.

Re:How much does it actually matter? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 years ago | (#40669695)

If you use rigid cuffs, with hands behind the back, and palms facing away from each other,
escaping from handcuffs requires either a contortionist or someone willing/able to dislocate joints.

Rigid cuffs make life a lot harder for anyone trying to get out of cuffs.

Re:How much does it actually matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40669427)

Can't find the article but about 12 years ago a police officer in Tampa, FL was killed after a suspect who was handcuffed got out by using a key on his necklace. He was put in the back seat cuffed, when the officer went to get him out the suspect reached for his pistol, got it and shot him. This is not uncommon.

Wonder Twin Powers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668129)

...Activate! Form of...keys!

remember Sklyarov? (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#40668159)

indefinite detention in 3...2...

Re:remember Sklyarov? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668515)

66 indefinite detention in 3...2... 99

Perfect body disposal in 3...2...

Re:remember Sklyarov? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668535)

indefinite detention in 3...2...

Cue the hyperbole police.... Dmitry Sklyarov was held in jail from July 16, 2001 to August 6, 2001, when he was released on $50,000 bail. He was found not guilty during a trial in December of the same year. Spending three weeks in jail sucks, but it is hardly indefinite.

Re:remember Sklyarov? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40669107)

There seems to be some sort of a problem with the handcuffs though.

more cops are better then high tech locks (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#40668161)

more cops are better then high tech locks any ways with high tech locks you just go after the weak points.

Clever but stupid? (1)

westlake (615356) | about 2 years ago | (#40668191)

Who holds the design and patent rights to the keys? I am betting that they are legally protected in some way.

There is only one set of legitimate buyers for these handcuffs.

Which means that being caught with one of these copycat keys in your possession is going to be hell of a thing to explain to an unsympathetic and skeptical cop,

Re:Clever but stupid? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about 2 years ago | (#40668265)

An unsympathetic and skeptical cop who has no legal basis for asking for an explanation.

It isn't illegal to be in possession of a key.

Re:Clever but stupid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668293)

I wouldn't want to have to wait to see a judge to prove that. . .

Re:Clever but stupid? (2)

tftp (111690) | about 2 years ago | (#40668591)

Buy your own set of police handcuffs without a key, and then get a key. With millions of pairs in use it shouldn't be too difficult. Then you have a perfect reason to own a key. If the judge asks why do you need handcuffs you can always claim curiosity about BDSM.

Re:Clever but stupid? (1)

jaymemaurice (2024752) | about 2 years ago | (#40669739)

I have a set of real cuffs in my car locked to my steering wheel. A key in my glovebox and a key on my keyring. Not sure why, other then I can. It makes for interesting conversation.

Re:Clever but stupid? (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#40668593)

An unsympathetic and skeptical cop who has no legal basis for asking for an explanation.

It isn't illegal to be in possession of a key.

Not at all, it'd just be illegal to use it to attempt escape from a lawful arrest. Prisons are filled with dumb people.

Re:Clever but stupid? (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 years ago | (#40669037)

"Not at all, it'd just be illegal to use it to attempt escape from a lawful arrest."

Perhaps we'll get lucky and they'll sue Thingieverse for copyright violation after the design is posted.
It has to happen sooner or later.

This isn't copywrite law (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668267)

Unlike music and movies, you can copy other people's patented works to your heart's content. Selling it isn't legal however.

Another thing to consider is security engineering has far longer timelines than information technology. I know not the pertinent patent numbers but it would not be surprising if they have already expired. As a simple example, nearly every American made automobile has sidebar locks copied over from the original Briggs and Stratton design long expired.

Re:Clever but stupid? (3, Informative)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 years ago | (#40668435)

Who holds the design and patent rights to the keys?

Design and patent rights are a civil matter and not a criminal matter. Until there is a law passed that criminalizes the possession of handcuff keys there is nothing the police can do.

There is only one set of legitimate buyers for these handcuffs.

There are actually at least five sets and possibly more; police, prison guards, court house guards , private security and bounty hunters. Basically anyone who has a legitimate reason for detaining someone else.

Re:Clever but stupid? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40669613)

BDSM!

Airline security? (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#40668239)

Interesting the article mentions how those plastic keys are easy to take through airport security. As if it's easier than metal keys. I've routinely taken a keyring with about a dozen keys on planes, could contain any key, never did they really inspect which keys (it just had to go through the scanner). I'm sure just adding a metal handcuff key to that bunch would let me through just as easily. Maybe even easier than with a plastic key, as metal keys are more common.

Re:Airline security? (4, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#40668295)

I can confirm this. I've had a common police handcuff key on my keyring for years* and I've never had it singled out at any security checkpoint. The keys go in the briefcase with a bunch of other crap where they might even be difficult to identify as keys.

*Kinky ex girlfriend. I figured I'd better stash a few keys in convenient places in case she wandered off at an inappropriate moment.

Re:Airline security? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668539)

I can confirm this. I've had a common police handcuff key on my keyring for years* and I've never had it singled out at any security checkpoint.

Ditto. Prior to 9/11 I also carried a P38 can-opener, but I took it off the key-ring in case some dumb-ass thought I could hijack the plane with it.

 

*Kinky ex girlfriend. I figured I'd better stash a few keys in convenient places in case she wandered off at an inappropriate moment.

Same reason too :).

Re:Airline security? (1)

eht (8912) | about 2 years ago | (#40669161)

Don't fly to Florida with that key in your pocket

http://law.onecle.com/florida/crimes/843.021.html [onecle.com]

Could be construed as "Unlawful possession of a concealed handcuff key"

A homeless man was picked up with a handcuff key on a necklace and charged under that law.

"including, but not limited to" is pretty broad

Re:Airline security? (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about 2 years ago | (#40669723)

It's not just about airport security, but also courthouse security and places where they might actually care about handcuff keys, like jails where you visit someone that's doing hard time. Airport security is not the best example you could choose, but "places that use a metal detector" would have a hard time detecting these keys.

A Handcuff isn't meant to be unbreakable (4, Insightful)

joeflies (529536) | about 2 years ago | (#40668297)

the goal of a handcuff is to restrain a person, namely a person who isn't likely to have a copy of the key handy, nor a 3d printer. And the detained person will not likely be given access to people who have keys or printers either.

It doesn't matter if the keys can be made easily, really, or even if it's the same key used in all the locks. THe basic point is that a handcuffed person would not be able to get themselves out without the tool.

Perhaps a lot is being made because it's a "high tech lock". Well you can take a low tech lock, such as a chain linked to a concrete block, and even though you could easily get out with a set of boltcutters, it's just as impossible to free yourself without access to the tools.

Re:A Handcuff isn't meant to be unbreakable (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#40668419)

It isn't about having a 3D printer handy after you are cuffed. It is about challenging the idea of physical security through obscurity. Handcuffs rely on a "shared secret" of the physical key, that's why the manufacturers go to great lengths to control distribution of those keys. But 3D printers make it practical to turn that physical key into data, and at that point all of the problems of security through obscurity of information start to apply to a formerly physical security model.

In other words, all it takes is for one person to "scan" a key and upload it to the internet and now it is orders of magnitude more likely that someone will have a copy of the key on their person, perhaps disguised as jewlery or just in stuck in their pockets, that will let themselves unlock their cuffs while sitting in the back of a police car.

Re:A Handcuff isn't meant to be unbreakable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668465)

Because that's helpful, now how do you get out police car?

Re:A Handcuff isn't meant to be unbreakable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668751)

Because that's helpful, now how do you get out police car?

When the cop opens the door expecting you to be restrained and it is thus easier to get the drop on him.

Re:A Handcuff isn't meant to be unbreakable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668445)

I think this is kind of the whole point though. You have a company selling a product that really is over designed, and presumably over priced as it's no more effective in 99% of the cases than a zip tie. And in most cases it's the probably tax payers footing the bill.

Re:A Handcuff isn't meant to be unbreakable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668483)

It is definitely more efficient than a zip tie. A zip tie can easily be broken, if I am allowed to move my arms up and down. I was recently demonstrated this, and all it took was one attempt to break it.

Re:A Handcuff isn't meant to be unbreakable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668599)

[citation needed]

Re:A Handcuff isn't meant to be unbreakable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40669067)

Check youtube for breaking double zip ties (the black ones currently in use). It seriously is very very easy to do. You can buy them in army surplus shops and police shops. Try it out for yourselves.

Re:A Handcuff isn't meant to be unbreakable (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668971)

Honestly though, all it would take is some handcuff manufacturer to add button or lever somewhere else on the cuff that has to be used in combination with a key. If cuffs required the simultaneous use of two hands to unlock, suddenly a prisoner being able to release themselves with only a key would become much more difficult.

It seems like that would be a more effective solution than trying to make the same old-fashioned lock release mechanism with higher precision parts.

Making the keys laser/3d print proof? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668425)

It should be fairly easy to design a laser cutter proof key - All you have to do is give it 3d features. With 3d printers it's a little trickier - the only real way is to make a key with features too small to be printed effectively. But this is a loosing battle since 3d printers are improving very fast.

Anyway, it isn't like duplicating a key is particularly tough if you have access to a machine shop. The only real way of making standard keys copy proof (at least to some degree) is to embed electronics / RFID / NFC tech in the keys and the cuffs. So a cuff can only be opened with a key of the right size, shape *and* code / protocol. It will still be possible to duplicate them of course... just much harder for the average person.

Posting CAD files for keys may be unwise (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 years ago | (#40668505)

Ray plans to post the CAD file for the key on the 3D printing site Thingiverse after LockCon later this week."

If the lock maker is anything like other lock makers, it's likely to result in them sending in the lawyers and somehow contriving DMCA-takedown notices

Re:Posting CAD files for keys may be unwise (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 years ago | (#40668685)

Ray plans to post the CAD file for the key on the 3D printing site Thingiverse after LockCon later this week."

If the lock maker is anything like other lock makers, it's likely to result in them sending in the lawyers and somehow contriving DMCA-takedown notices

Yes, but... how DMCA applies in this case? The manufacturer never made the 3D plans available, so there's nothing "copyrightable" to copy.
The current CAD plans were reverse engineered but... not after something digital (thus subject to the copyright laws and DigitalMCA) but using a physical artifact. Can a mass produced artifact - more than that, it is an accessory to something, not the something in itself - be subject to copyright laws?

Re:Posting CAD files for keys may be unwise (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 years ago | (#40669117)

Yes, but... how DMCA applies in this case? The manufacturer never made the 3D plans available, so there's nothing "copyrightable" to copy.

They never made plans available to the public, that doesn't mean there are no 3D plans; unpublished works still copyright, possibly even if you can derive the plans by looking at the physical object.

Can a mass produced artifact - more than that, it is an accessory to something, not the something in itself - be subject to copyright laws?

Lock makers usually use patents, not copyrights, for control of manufacture of keys.

A "key" -- the physical object whose shape is dictated by its function (operating a lock) can't be copyrighted, but the blueprints might be.

Patents prohibit unauthorized parties from making and selling a patented key.

Copyrights prohibit unauthorized parties from recreating and selling something derived from and substantially similar to copyright-protected plans.

Re:Posting CAD files for keys may be unwise (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 years ago | (#40669411)

Yes, but... how DMCA applies in this case? The manufacturer never made the 3D plans available, so there's nothing "copyrightable" to copy.

They never made plans available to the public, that doesn't mean there are no 3D plans; unpublished works still copyright, possibly even if you can derive the plans by looking at the physical object.

Seems improbable to obtain copyright for something that you did not publish or did not register a copyrightable work (otherwise, I would be able to claim that I wrote ... whatever ... before the original author). The only question is: would expressing a blue-print in tangible object equates to "publishing the blue-print"?

There seem to be even exceptions to the copyright for "useful articles" [wikipedia.org] - which seem to indicate that the utilitarian/functional aspects of an article are not copyrightable (at least this is how I interpret "If a pictorial, graphic or sculptural work is a useful article, it is copyrighted only if its aesthetic features are separable from its utilitarian features").

Can a mass produced artifact - more than that, it is an accessory to something, not the something in itself - be subject to copyright laws?

Lock makers usually use patents, not copyrights, for control of manufacture of keys.

Then the principles (at least) for the invention need to be described in the patent application. As I doubt that an eventual patent (if existing) would be so specific to describe the 3D blueprints and I really doubt the patent application can make claims on the "locking/unlocking cuffs" as a principle... it's much probable the manufacturer relied on trade secrets for the "key blue-prints". If I'm right then reverse engineering them is fair game.

A "key" -- the physical object whose shape is dictated by its function (operating a lock) can't be copyrighted, but the blueprints might be.

Patents prohibit unauthorized parties from making and selling a patented key.

Copyrights prohibit unauthorized parties from recreating and selling something derived from and substantially similar to copyright-protected plans.

As I said, I doubt there is a copyright protection if the blue-prints were not published or (at least) registered with a copyright authority. Question is: if the later (registered work), would a copyright authority have any right in not disclosing the blue-prints when asked by third parties? I don't think so... if kept secret, then it would be contrary to the very principle of copyright (you have exclusivity over a limited period of time provided that you publish a work for the benefit of the society).

Re:Posting CAD files for keys may be unwise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40669345)

If the lock maker is anything like other lock makers, it's likely to result in them sending in the lawyers and somehow contriving DMCA-takedown notices

The Pirate Bay has a "Physibles" [thepiratebay.se] section now.

I'm sure they'll treat a lock maker's takedown notice just like they treat every other takedown noticew.

Fortunately my local PD still uses Smith&Wesso (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | about 2 years ago | (#40668521)

standard cuffs that use the same key you can get anywhere.

Good to keep a copy on your keyring... just in case.

lock pick is cheaper (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#40668627)

A lock pick is cheaper (usually free)
There are plenty of youtube videos teaching how to make your own.
I've yet to find a lock that I couldn't pick with one... that includes every lock in my house and even my car.
It's really not that hard when you get used to it.

Re:lock pick is cheaper (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40668919)

I call bullshit. If you have found a way to pick sidebar locks with bits of wire then you should write a book about it. Nobody else has.

Re:lock pick is cheaper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40669051)

A lock pick is cheaper (usually free)
There are plenty of youtube videos teaching how to make your own.
I've yet to find a lock that I couldn't pick with one... that includes every lock in my house and even my car.
It's really not that hard when you get used to it.

Yeah right. This isnt a movie and youre not a master of locks that can open a car door with a lockpick. I know you want to sound cool infront of a bunch of strangers but you sound like some kid telling lies to his friends hoping they believe him and think he is cool.

I guess you could do it in a house built in the 1800s and a car from 1925 though, but fact is it doesnt work like that and you couldnt open those cuffs with just a simple lock pick.

Re:lock pick is cheaper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40669061)

OK, now do that with your hands cuffed behind your back.

This guy will become the poster boy... (1)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | about 2 years ago | (#40668655)

For why the government needs to DCMA physical objects in addition to media. He does the world no good with his stunt. This will come back and bite us in a year or two.

cuffs are black boxed (0)

p51d007 (656414) | about 2 years ago | (#40668941)

I know a lot of departments that double cuff some, and, black box the links in between if they are the hinged types. The hinged types are a little harder to work with, since you can pivot your hands as easy as with the ones that have the 3-4 chain links. The steel box goes between them and covers the area where the key fits. On a personal note... just stick an explosive on the cuffs, and if they are unlocked, it explodes with enough force to sever the veins in the wrist and let them bleed out...after 1 or 2 die trying this, it will stop most of the others from trying ;)

Who cares? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40669023)

Lets look at standard cuffs. They have been using a common key type for decades that anyone can buy anywhere. But Im willing to bet the actual majority of people who end up in cuffs by law enforcement and use their own key to escape is pretty damned small. This is less common cuff with a less commonly found key and thus reduces the chances of someone escaping using a custom key even less likely.

Besides, if someone is in these high tech cuffs I wouldnt think the police or whoever wouldnt have searched the person as well and found the key before hand. Unless of course they think suddenly every criminal is going to get a copy of this, tie it to string, tie it to a tooth and then swallow (or rectally hide it) it so they pull it out and unlock the cuffs, beat the officer to death after breaking out of the squad car or prison, hijack a vehicle and drive off into the sunset.

Its not like prisoners play escape artist that often once they have been cuffed. Im sure it happens on occasion but not enough for this to even be a concern. Besides the old addage is if one man can make it, a thousand can break it.

Summary is wrong (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 2 years ago | (#40669383)

From Summary:

Ray plans to post the CAD file for the key on the 3D printing site Thingiverse after LockCon later this week.

From Article:

Even so, Ray says he won’t post CAD models of the Bonowi or Clejuso models online, given that those keys are harder to obtain and providing blueprints for their reproduction could in fact reduce their real-world security.

WTF, Sparrowvsrevolution?

Flat keys work? (1)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#40669523)

The surprising thing is that a flat key will work. Laser cutters are 2D devices; they do a great job cutting flat sheets, but you can't make 3D objects with them. The process is fast and cheap, though. Stereolithography takes forever.

I'm surprised that laser-cut acrylic would work. Thin acrylic isn't very strong. Polycarbonate ("Lexan") doesn't cut well with CO2 lasers. Acetyl ("Delrin") is probably the best choice. It's kind of expensive, but a key isn't very big.

Exciting. Car master keys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40669635)

This is exciting! It is common knowledge that there is a master key set for each vendor of car. I wonder if we could print out that set? Impress your friends when you can retrieve their locked-in keys without any risk of damage!

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