Ovid (publius_ovidius) wrote,
Ovid
publius_ovidius

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Being Stupid in the Name of Privacy

Japan used to require all foreigners entering their country to be fingerprinted. They abandoned this policy due to privacy concerns and, as far as I'm concerned, this is a Good Thing. More and more countries, rather than honestly asking themselves, "what can we do to to make the world a better place?", have simply given up, assumed things are bad, and just assume that violating our privacy is a necessary evil in their fight against reason terrorism.

Giving into terror hysteria, Japan again requires foreigners to be fingerprinted.

Of course, if you're disturbed by the idea of the mounting assaults on our privacy, this probably bothers you. Offhand, short of hiring a plastic surgeon, I am only familiar with one way of changing your fingerprints. You get someone to press their fingerprints into modeling clay. Then you spray the prints with jeweler's oil, apply Nu Skin (they have a clear artificial skin product), and when it sets, carefully peel off the prints. Then you superglue them to your fingertips and carefully pierce the prints with a needle to let your natural oils cover the prints. More Nu Skin will need to be applied to blend the fingerprint edges into your own skin.

Of course, the other person is probably not going to want to be implicated in whatever you do, so it helps if they're unconscious when you borrow their prints. This is probably not a viable route.

Enter "mock". This is the online handle of a rather curious gentleman I've met at a couple of conferences. He's a security researcher and is passionate about privacy. He decided that the trick would be to remove his fingerprints. He researched various methods and actually tried them. Then he posted a blog entry about how to remove your fingerprints. He even has a PDF of slides of his attempts. And yes, he even pressed his fingers into a frying pan with hot, smoking oil (it didn't work but it hurt like hell).

He claims he successfully made it through Japanese customs and he actually had to wait in a line of people who didn't have fingerprints. Curiously, he mentioned they were mostly old Chinese women. I'm wondering how that came about.

The downside of this, as mock points out, is that you probably want to have a plausible reason why you don't have fingerprints. That last bit has me stumped.
Tags: 1984, identity theft, security
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