More SmartGun Tomfoolery

Smart Guns Redux

Smart Guns Redux

A company in Georgia is claiming to have technology to make Smart Guns viable.

Computerworld: Smart gun company aims to begin production soon

“According to Miller, had smart gun technology been available to Nancy Lanza, she could have programmed her guns so that only her fingerprint could have activated them; she could have enabled her son to shoot them at a firing range and disabled them upon returning home, or she could have enabled them for her son to use all the time, Miller said.

(more)

“So without the technology, we went from zero percent chance of preventing the shootings to having the technology and a 66% chance of preventing it,” Miller said. “Those are much better odds.”

My own calculations added up to 33.3% (repeating, of course).  Until I remembered that electronic devices that incorporate computers are never 100% reliable to begin with.  Which leads us back to one of the cardinal rules of gun safety: never trust a safety mechanism to prevent the gun from firing.

“Columbus, Ga.-based SGTi’s technology uses relatively simple fingerprint recognition through an infrared reader. The biometrics reader enables three other physical mechanisms that control the trigger, the firing pin and the gun hammer.”

But not the barrel shroud, or the shoulder thingy that goes up?  Well, dammit, those are the most deadly parts of a gun!  This oversight will not be tolerated!

And of course, there is the well-documented problem of fooling, hacking and/or cracking fingerprint scanning devices:

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Fool-a-Fingerprint-Security-System-As-Easy-/

http://www.blackhat.com/presentations/bh-europe-06/bh-eu-06-Kiviharju/bh-eu-06-kiviarju.pdf

http://stdot.com/pub/ffs/hack3.html

http://www.zdnet.com/sweet-bypass-for-student-finger-scanner-1339306878/

That last link shows how you can fool a fingerprint scanner with a gummybear.  Yes, a gummybear.  Would you trust a gun safety mechanism that could be defeated with a gummybear?

So pardon me for not believing a word of this company’s marketing hype.  While this particular solution claims to use infrared scanning technology, what that means is that it reads the pattern of veins in your fingertip rather than the actual fingerprint.  It is still flawed in concept and execution.  I have personal experience with this technology.

A company I used to work for installed copiers with a finger scanner that read the vein pattern in your finger before it would let you use the machine.  The problems were many:

  • Each user had to be painstakingly scanned into the database (and the process was open to abuse)
  • Approximately half of the time the device did not unlock for users that were authorized and in the database
  • Anyone with an injury or band-aid on their finger was locked out of the machine
  • If you put the head of your penis into the scanner, it would approve you as if you were the division president

Ok, I might be wrong about that last one; everyone said it but no one would admit to testing it.  I would have taken one for the team but there were logistic challenges involved.

In any case, the technology is not reliable enough for anyone to risk adopting it.  Just look at the vehement resistance that law-enforcement has to carrying a Smart Gun.

And that’s my rule: If law enforcement doesn’t want to carry it, neither do I.

I think it’s only a matter of time before some major liberal metropolis crams Smart Guns down its police department’s throat.  And then we will see exactly how many people die because of this flawed technology and the certain attempts by criminals to hack the system to their advantage.

 

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