Will the real you please step forward

A lot...a LOT...has been written about our identity and the ramifications of sharing (some would say over-sharing) our private information online.

Most of us just say "wow" and dive right into the lovely shiny new things without too much thought.

Some of my customer use facial recognition or finger prints to log in to their computers.

These same people plaster pictures of themselves all over social media without even thinking that someone showing their PC a photo of them will probably be able to login.

Most of them haven't seen the Mythbusters episode which shows how surprisingly easy it is to copy a fingerprint and defeat fingerprint scanners. BTW, you do realise that your computer, where the fingerprint scanner is located, is covered with your fingerprints - I mean you type on it, pick it up and otherwise handle it... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sphAJFj9qA

I haven't even touched on the written information...the birthdays, the locations, the relations you have with people and things, you history, your pets, your things etc. etc. ...that all go to form a public picture/identity of you. A public identity that doesn't even have to be stolen because you've given it away!

Then we discover what we've done and that backing out may not be easy or even an option.

In a linked post I talked about how Ancestry type sites and their DNA testing has been used in novel ways that contributors could not have imagined. https://www.ihatemypc.com.au/post/2019/07/05/how-your-dna-test-catches-bad-guys

So you (we) don't know what you don't know about how your data is being used.

Many security agencies are talking about, and trying, real-time identification of people as they go about their lives.

A lot of this is framed as "for our benefit" and "time saving". For example, Australian immigration is working towards airport security that recognizes your face as you leave the plane and proceed to collect your bags.

The plan is to speed up those awful immigration queues at airports. If you have the right kind of passport you'll be detected, identified and processed without even having to break-step. Next thing you know you are at the baggage carousel waiting for a dog to sniff your bags.

Locating criminals in real time seems like a brilliant idea.

But questions must be asked when incompetency and malice so often factor into the people running and working for these agencies.

If they can spot us at the airport, can they spot us anywhere else? (Yes) Can they get it wrong? (Yes) Can my DNA be at a crime scene even if I wasn't there or didn't commit the crime? (Yes)

What if someone else has your face? How easy is that?

Well, very easy. And, like most expensive high tech systems, defeating it is often very low tech and cheap.

That's why, among other reasons, Ronald Regan's Star Wars satellite based laser anti-missile plans never came to fruition. They'd cost billions to develop but could be disabled with a handful of sand dispensed from an ordinary rocket. [The sand traveling at high speeds damages the laser mirrors, which causes them to absorb rather than reflect the laser energy, overheat and blow themselves up.]

2D David wins champagne

Many years ago I attended a "masked ball". Now these things aren't my style but I went anyway.

I figured if I had to wear a mask I'd wear the ugliest and creepiest one I could. So I printed a picture of my own face, posted it onto cardboard, made a couple of holes and went to the masked ball as 2D me.

It was a hit but I was surprised at 2 things; how many people took a double-take to realise it was a mask, and how many people couldn't see that the picture of me was me. very strange.

I doubt I was the first to do this and with the benefit of modern technology and materials, better "me"s are already here. Check out this article and related video.


So what's the point of this post?

Well, I am not a conspiracy guy. I don't "believe" anything. I check out the information, assess it for validity and proceed based on some level of risk assessment.

There's a lot more "public me" than there probably is for most people, but I am careful to hold back important and critical information because, well, I am not smart enough to know how it may be used against me in the future.

I am a small fish, and a low value target. That helps for the bad guys to look me over. I am not worth stealing from when the same effort could yield big results.

But in a world where cheap, high speed programs can do the work regardless of target value we all need to be careful...or get a mask of someone else's face...someone we hate... ;-)


P.S. and for fun, here are the Chats - "Identity Theft"

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