Privacy Blog

“By continuing the process of inflation, governments can confiscate secretly and unobserved an important part of the wealth of their citizens.” – John Maynard Keynes, writing about the effects of a seemingly small amount of inflation every year.

One Method of Creating Fake Fingerprints

When Apple introduced its fingerprint sensing Touch ID technology for the iPhone in 2013, it hailed the innovation as a boon for consumer security. In fact, fingerprints are used to prevent car theft and financial fraud as well. After all, what security can be better than identifying a person by fingerprints? The answer can be found in one brand-new technology that renders fingerprints almost useless as a method of identification.

fingerprint identityIndustrial design student Mian Wei, a third-year student at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), created Identity, a wearable finger prosthetic that can be used on fingerprint readers without revealing the user’s actual fingers or thumb. Wei debuted his small, disposable finger prosthetic in May at a year-end RISD student exhibition. The Identity pad is made from a conductive silicone-based material, containing fibers that form an impression that will be accepted as a fingerprint on any consumer-grade fingerprint sensor.

An iPhone is only the most common example. Users simply wrap the slightly sticky material around their finger and touch it to a smartphone’s sensor to enroll a false fingerprint. To change prints, you can simply replace the prosthetic and repeat the process with the new one.

Wei is promoting the technology as a way to INCREASE security by hiding a user’s real fingerprints, instead substituting fake fingerprints to be used in high-security access to cell phones, automobiles, bank vaults and more. However, it doesn’t take much imagination to think of other uses that may result in the reverse: reducing finderprints to a meaningless tool.

Mian Wei’s technology exists only in one hand-made prototype right now. However, he says he’s talking to a design company about mass production.

You can learn more in Mian Wei’s web site at http://mian-wei.com/#/identity/ and in an article by Joshua Kopstein in the Christian Science Monitor at http://goo.gl/PA4vgh.

Categories: Cell Phones, News & Current Events

2 replies

  1. In fact, I produced 70 pieces in order prove the viability

    Like

    • Hello. Are these ready in production yet? 😉 Also, I don’t know if it’s possible with your material, but it would be nice to have backups/spare copies of the same fingerprint.

      Like

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