Monday, 23 January 2017 08:04

Peace signs and selfies – it is all about megapixels


Japanese researchers have warned that with the increasing sophistication of smartphone cameras, especially those with higher megapixels, fingerprints can be reproduced from peace/victory signs, and passport-quality photos from selfies.

Research by a team at Japan’s National Institute of Informatics (NII) has warned that the Japanese habit of using the two-fingered pose could lead to compromised identities, such as when logging on to smartphones, tablets and laptop computers.

NII researchers could copy fingerprints based on photos taken by a digital camera three metres away from the subject.

NII researcher Isao Echizen, said, “Just by casually making a peace sign in front of a camera, fingerprints can become widely available. Fingerprint data can be recreated if fingerprints are in focus with strong lighting in a picture. Advanced technology was not necessary and anyone could easily copy fingerprints.”

NII is developing a transparent film containing titanium oxide that can be attached to fingers to hide their prints.

But the world has greeted the news with scepticism. One commenter wrote, “Such a waste of taxpayers’ money! Who, in his right mind, would attach some sticky films with toxic materials to his fingerprints, to make a peace sign while taking photos? Are those researchers suffering from boredom, or are they high on some next-generation futuristic powder, developed with taxpayer money?”

Another commenter warned that people should also wear dark glasses to avoid having their retina prints stolen.

This writer is willing to wager that researchers are also working on stealing President Donald Trump’s identity as he is known for his use of hand gestures. Well, on the other hand, perhaps not.



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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!



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