DR. ALEX KILPATRICK: "Defeating Big Brother -- How to Fool Biometric Sensors"
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DR. ALEX KILPATRICK: "Defeating Big Brother -- How to Fool Biometric Sensors"

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Hollywood has portrayed an all-powerful government, able to continually track citizens through a variety of sinister means, including satellites, surveillance systems, and biometric sensors. I'll......

Hollywood has portrayed an all-powerful government, able to continually track citizens through a variety of sinister means, including satellites, surveillance systems, and biometric sensors. I'll dispel a lot of these myths, tell you what can be done now, and how to best defeat systems that can be used to track you and your whereabouts without your consent.
@alexkilpatrick, http://tacticalinfosys.com

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  • One time I went into Petco and they asked for my phone number. Being an obnoxious fellow, I said it was 555-1212. The clerk dutifully took down my information and looked up my record. She said “Is your name George Orwell” I replied “Yes, that’s me.”
  • This is a photo of me in Saddam’s throne. In the past five years, I’ve worked on biometric systems in the middle east, making many trips to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Jordan. I’m currently in the startup competition, where our product is WanderID, a face-matching system used to help identify people with cognitive disabilities who get lost and can’t identify themselves.
  • The panopticon was a concept for a prison where the guards were in a central corridor, and could look at any prisoner at any time. The prisoners had no way to know whether they were being observed, so they had to behave at all times as if they were. That’s also what a surveillance society looks like. And make no mistake, the commercial world can be just as bad as the government here.
  • Cory Doctrow coined the term “Little Brother,” who’s job it was to tweak, annoy, and mess with Big Brother. Not to break the law, but to throw a wrench in the works of the Big Brother machine.
  • Emphasis is on legal activities when messing with big brother. Also, technology and lawas change rapidly. If you take what I give you here and use it to commit a crime, don’t ask me to visit you in prison
  • This clip is from CSI, where they take a “reflection” from an eye and access the entire group of people taking the picture. The picture below is my experiment doing the same thing. Computers can only see pixels, and pixels don’t get magically created from nothing. This is an important concept for the rest of the talk.
  • In Hollywood, satellites can be “tasked” and zoomed in from orbit, scanning license plates until they find your car. Once they find your car, they can track you across the roadways until they can dispatch a helicopter crew to take you out.
  • In reality, satellites are limited by the size of the optics they use. A modern spy satellite, equivalent to the Hubble, can resolve an object about the size of a golfball. That’s not enough to make out a license plate, assuming it was on top of the car. However, the police can and do scan license plates from their cars, looking for people of interest.
  • Unfortunately, there is no way to legally obscure your license plate since the sensors are optical. However, many people assist the government in tracking them via toll tags. This information has been used in many cases to track people. The picture at upper left is a tiny chip from a toll tag. If you want to mess with tracking systems, go toll one direction and non-toll back the other direction.
  • In Hollywood, a 2-D web page or yearbook is used to match a person laying down, 40 years later. The computer has no problem turning a low-resolution 2-D image into a 3-D model.
  • Here is the reality. This is my picture from linked-in, zoomed in to see the pixels. Websites store images at the lowest resolution in order to get a reasonable looking image. There just isn’t enough information in this image to do any kind of face matching.
  • One method for messing with both face detection and face recognition is to foil the symmetry of the face. Face systems use an “eigneface” that mapsthe tecture of the face, and assumes general symmetry. If you spoil that, they won’t be able to work.
  • In Minority Report, Tom Cruise’s character has his iris read from 100’s of feet away, continually as he is walking through a department store, whether he looks at them or not. Specialized advertisements are shown, tied to his character’s stolen identity. He even has to replace his eyeball in order to fool the sensors.
  • This one is not too far-fetched. Iris cameras can work from distances of 10’ or so, but require you to look at them for at least a second or two. Again, this is a question of pixels. The sensor has to have enough pixels in order to see the detail in your iris.
  • Iris scans use either optical or infrared. Dark sunglasses will prevent almost all optical and most IR, making it impossible for a sensor to see your eyes. Secondly, covert surveillance is done by getting you to look at a camera. This would typically be done by flashing a light, causing you to look. If you are in an area where you think there might be surveillance, just look down.
  • In the movie “Enemy of the State” (the ultimate big brother movie, by the way) Will Smith’s character has a number of tiny GPS trackers implanted all over him when the bad guys sneak into his apartment and replace his pen, watch, etc. There are able to track him wherever he goes.
  • We carry GPS trackers all the time, in the form of a cell phone. These can be activated without your knowledge, to identify your position, based on a court order. Real GPS trackers are small, but still need power and still need to transmit your location. The tracker above has a transmitter, but no power or antenna..
  • If you don’t want to be tracked, turn off your cell phone. Or put it in a coffee can or other metal container. GPS signals are weak, and do not penetrate metal or buildings (except windows).
  • Tracking technology is absolutely essentiall for a surveillance society. However, that does not mean it is all bad. If can be used for lots of benefical things.
  • Ultimately, the real solution is transparency and accountability. We need to know who in the government or private sector is tracking us, and why. Governments need to be accountable and auditable for all surveillance they perform. They cannot have a free hand in just “fishing” for people who might be doing something wrong, or we are just back to panopticon. In a similar vein, companies need to be up-front about the information they are collecting, what they are doing with it, and they have to delete it when requested. I don’t want to live in a surveillance society, whether it is run by Google, Microsoft, or the US Government.

Transcript

  • 1. Dr. Alex KILPATRICK
    Defeating Big Brother – How to Fool Biometric Sensors
    @alexkilpatrick
  • 2. Defeating Big Brother
    How to live in a surveillance society
    Alex Kilpatrick, Ph.D.
  • 3. About me
  • 4. Panopticon – Invisible Omniscience
  • 5. You have a moral obligation to mess with big brother
  • 6. Warning -Technology Changes Rapidly
  • 7. Pixels 101
  • 8. Hollywood
  • 9. Reality
  • 10. Defeat
  • 11. Hollywood
  • 12. Reality
  • 13. Defeat
    Credit: Adam Harvey
    www.ahprojects.com
  • 14. Hollywood
  • 15. Reality
  • 16. Defeat
  • 17. Hollywood
  • 18. Reality
  • 19. Defeat
  • 20. Helping when you are lost
    Crime prevention
    Secure computers
    Preventing fraud
    Catching bad guys
    Identifying you when you
    can’t identify yourself
    Good stuff
  • 21. Transparency
    Accountability
    The real solution