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Toshiba Puts Fingerprint Readers on Cell Phones 163

Posted by samzenpus
from the touch-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes "As if it wasn't enough to have fingerprint scanners on laptops, Toshiba has put them on two of its latest smart phones. The Toshiba G500 and G900 feature fingerprint scanners on the back of the handsets, allowing users to access their phone by simply sliding their finger over the scanner. This is supposed to provide a better level of security than using a code of some sort. Of course it also means that someone is more likely to chop your hand off if they desperately want your data."
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Toshiba Puts Fingerprint Readers on Cell Phones

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  • by Zapotek (1032314) <<tasos.laskos> <at> <gmail.com>> on Thursday February 15, 2007 @03:52AM (#18021152) Homepage

    The Toshiba G500 and G900 feature fingerprint scanners on the back of the handsets, allowing users to access their phone by simply sliding their finger over the scanner.
    ...and that would be the middle one.

    IMHO it's far more complex than necessary, more cool features == more things waiting to fail.
    • Not to mention that this kind of auth is at best inconvenient (at worst, dangerous) in a hands-free situation such as driving.
      • by Cheetahfeathers (93473) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @08:43AM (#18022298)
        Driving needs too be a phone free situation, hands free phone or not. Studies on the subject have shown that hands free phones are little better for driving than a hand held unit. http://www.livescience.com/humanbiology/060629_cel l_phones.html [livescience.com]

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by HairyCanary (688865)
          If we ban hands free cell phones in cars, we might as well ban passengers too. And kids. At some point we just have to accept that personal responsibility needs to play a larger role than law.
          • by Foerstner (931398)
            Putting aside the fact that passengers, child or adult, are an integral part of travel, whereas cell phones are not, there is a clear distinction between cell phones and other distractions (passengers, radios, makeup, a latte or a Double Whopper with Cheese)

            Cell Phones demand immediate and constant attention.

            In-car passengers shut up when they notice that the driver is trying to merge onto the interstate, or make a turn across the oncoming lane. It's automatic. Similarly, drivers don't generally do other th
            • by Dravik (699631)

              In-car passengers shut up when they notice that the driver is trying to merge onto the interstate, or make a turn across the oncoming lane. It's automatic
              You must not have many women riding in your car. You seem to have forgotten the unending female pay attention to me trick where she points in a random direction and says "look at (random object well outside viewing distance) what do you think of it?"
              • by SimonInOz (579741)
                >> she points in a random direction and says "look at (random object well outside viewing distance) what do you think of it?"

                This is because women have far superiour peripheral vison to men. (That's why they can find things in the fridge and you can't).

                They really ought to be far better drivers than men - but they aren't, are they? Slightly, perhaps, according to insurance companies.

                Maybe they keep getting distracted. Possibly by their passengers.
                Or their cellphones.
            • In-car passengers shut up when they notice that the driver is trying to merge onto the interstate, or make a turn across the oncoming lane. It's automatic. ... Cell phones, however, don't lend themselves to being ignored or put down while a driver is doing something important.

              I don't know about your experience, but in my experience with a two and a half year old, compared to most cell phone conversations, most people I am on the phone with are more amiable to me setting the phone down for a minute than my

    • by SimonInOz (579741) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @07:43AM (#18022064)
      I have one of these Toshibas. The fingerprint scan works mostly - but it doesn't work very well if you are cold (maybe it thinks you are dead ... how would Spike [a vampire - info for those foolish few who don't follow Buffy] operate one of these?)
      Also the software for handling the login process is pretty sucky - it's hard to handle the mail server which tends to come up with different names, etc etc. I eventually disabled it for all except the main login, which works well enough to cope with. I have done better than most - who have given in.

      On a phone, it could be a pain - but at least it has to do only one thing. Entering a six digit password (as I must on my corporate Blackberry) is *very* painful, though, and a fingerprint scan would defintely be better than that.
      • by Heian-794 (834234)

        The fingerprint scan works mostly - but it doesn't work very well if you are cold

        Another problem just occurred to me: in winter, people will have to take their gloves off just to make phone calls outdoors!

        I realize that people in the US spend a lot of time driving, but people also make a lot of calls when outdoors waiting for people to meet them, etc.

        Or will global warming soon become so intense that we won't have to worry about outdoor gloves anymore? ^_^;

  • Better security? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Niten (201835) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @04:07AM (#18021220)

    Of course it also means that someone is more likely to chop your hand off if they desperately want your data.

    More realistically, you'd also have to worry about somebody lifting your fingerprint from, say, the phone itself, then using that to log in. The MythBusters did a segment [youtube.com] showing how easy it is to lift somebody's fingerprint, then use that print to defeat a scanner.

    This thing isn't going to increase security, it's only going to increase convenience.

    • by sporkme (983186) * on Thursday February 15, 2007 @04:30AM (#18021306) Homepage
      You're absolutely right, but I would argue that it does not really even increase convenience. The last thing I need when my phone is ringing in a meeting, while driving, or at the dinner table is the horrific realization that I have forgotten to unlock the phone, and thus I must now meticulously subject myself to a fingerprint scan. Furthermore, many of us are negligent with proper care and handling of our cellphones. Until now that might result in a cracked outer screen or intermittently functioning button, but never in a total lock-out of an otherwise functional phone. So what happens when the reader is damaged? A hefty repair bill is what, and up to a month without that uber-vital super-secret data that just had to be protected with biometrics.

      I have always felt that fingerprint scanning was ridiculous and cumbersome sci-fi, but real tests against this kind of security have shown that it is a waste of time and money. There is no replacement for properly managed and complicated password systems coupled with strong encryption. I regularly show friends and family how to create passwords that can be remembered but not guessed, and how to manage passwords that are outdated.

      This reminds me of two prior /. stories. Bank employees merrily collected USB flashdrives that were scattered outside and proceeded to plug them [slashdot.org] into their terminals. Old cellphones purchased on eBay reveal secret data. [slashdot.org]
      • by jrumney (197329) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:39AM (#18021594) Homepage

        The last thing I need when my phone is ringing in a meeting, while driving, or at the dinner table is the horrific realization that I have forgotten to unlock the phone

        On every phone I have seen, you can answer incoming calls when the phone is locked. What you can't do is make outgoing calls, or browse through the phonebook, calendar and other personal information on the phone. I don't see any reason why this would change just because the authentication technology changed from a PIN to a fingerprint.

      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by Alioth (221270)
        Please turn your phone off in meetings or while at dinner - and especially while driving! The former are merely being polite, the latter is not killing a motorcyclist because you were distracted by your phone. Incidentally, the latter - using a handheld phone wile driving, carries a £1000 fine here.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Please turn your phone off in meetings or while at dinner - and especially while driving! The former are merely being polite, the latter is not killing a motorcyclist because you were distracted by your phone. Incidentally, the latter - using a handheld phone wile driving, carries a £1000 fine here.

          Or you could just use a headset. It's no more distracting than talking to a person in your car, which is still legal. That might even be more distracting because there is a visual component. But the studie

        • Setting the phone to vibrate usually satisfies most people surrounding and in the case of Dinner a quietly answered and BRIEF call is usually not the end of the world. This allows those of us that are tethered to our jobs (only technical person and the site is expected to be up 24x7) to have some semblance of a life. In movie theaters I can check the caller Id, and if necessary quietly exit and answer the call (usually answering but not saying anything to keep the call from going to voice mail).

          There are
      • by Syberghost (10557)
        Yes, I suppose it's possible that if they design this differently than most manufacturers (including Toshiba) do their laptops, and if you configured it specifically to inconvenience yourself, your nightmare scenario could come true.

        If, on the other hand, they do what they usually do, and you don't change the defaults, everything you said is alarmist bullcrap.

        Toshiba configures their laptops (only thing I can go by, don't have one of these phones) so that you can also unlock them with a password; the finger
      • by Fred_A (10934)

        You're absolutely right, but I would argue that it does not really even increase convenience. The last thing I need when my phone is ringing in a meeting, while driving, or at the dinner table is the horrific realization that I have forgotten to unlock the phone, and thus I must now meticulously subject myself to a fingerprint scan.

        You think that's bad ? My phone has a rectum scanner you insensitive clod ! (OTOH I doubt it will get stolen by anyone other than the airport security guy)

    • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:13AM (#18021458)
      "This thing isn't going to increase security, it's only going to increase convenience."

      Easy to defeat != no effect on security. Otherwise nobody'd lock their car doors. Afterall, it only takes a hammer to get in.
      • by Niten (201835)

        You're correct in that even this is better than no security at all. However, what I (and the summary) meant by "increase security" was security with respect to the traditional method of locking one's phone, which is with a PIN or a password of some kind. In that sense, this system will not increase security, as fingerprint authentication systems are demonstrably less secure than a well-chosen password.

      • by sporkme (983186) *
        Doors locked < The Club < in the garage < leave some shotgun shells on the dash.
        Fingerprint scanner < lock phone with PIN < lock phone with password < don't put secret data in an easily compromised system.

        When it comes to security, this idea is both neat and worthless. And yes, when I go backpacking I leave some shotgun shells on the dash of my truck. All other things being equal, thieves will take the Prius.
    • A while back I was speaking to someone who was developing this sort of technology, who told me that his company (and presumably many others) don't look at the actual fingerprint visually, but probe slightly further into the finger. So fingerprint reproduction won't work on that technology, and he claimed that it could even tell whether the finger was connected to a body or not.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jrumney (197329)

        When biometric technology was new, it was expensive, and the only customers were military and other high security installations who are always looking for ways to increase the perception of security, if not the actual security. So technology to measure pulse, body temperature etc was built into the scanners from an early stage, to counter the sci-fi movie ideas of cutting off fingers, ripping out eyeballs etc to get around the biometric security.

        More recently though, there has been a drive to cut costs an

      • Been MythBusted. Adam and Jamie tried a few different methods of breaking the security on a super-high end finger print door lock, including trying to covertly acquire the fingerprint that unlocks it. They managed to fool a high and low end finger print scanner with a warmed ballistics gel finger, and even managed to fool the high end scanner with a photo copy of the finger print, on licked paper, pressed down with a real finger. The high end scanner had the technology you're talking about, yet it was still
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ngc3242 (1039950)
      As someone that works for a major fingerprint sensor manufacturer, I can say that the MythBusters did not select high quality sensors to test against. I'm getting a little tired of people who's entire pool of knowledge about fingerprint sensing is based on this one television making conclusions based on bad information. I'm not familiar with the door lock sensor specifically, but I can tell from observing it that it is an optical sensor. Whatever live tissue sensing that manufacturer claims to have is ob
  • by Pizaz (594643) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @04:12AM (#18021240)
    I mean really, what's the guarantee that your fingerprint data wont be uploaded through the network and stored in a big database somewhere?
    • Time to put on the tinfoil hats! No, its the fact that in order to do something like your thinking, you need all the proper permission... unless you already think that "The Man" will do what it wants, no matter what.
      • by Niten (201835)

        Frighteningly, I don't think there's that great a difference, in terms of technical feasibility, cost of implementation, or legal dubiousness, between the NSA clandestinely spying on the private conversations of U.S. citizens by the aid of AT&T and others; and that same agency, hypothetically, collecting fingerprint data from consumers by the aid of whichever cellular carriers will offer this phone.

        It may seem improbable, but we've already seen equally grievous government intrusions into personal priv

      • The Man (Score:3, Insightful)

        unless you already think that "The Man" will do what it wants, no matter what


        Fortunately for democracy in the USA, The Man is strictly limited in what He can do by the Patriot Act.
  • If it works as badly as Lenovo's scanner, fuggedaboutit. I didn't really ask for one, but it came with my Lenovo and I thought it would be interesting to try. Sure enough I could not log in without a successful scan, but it usually took 5 or 6 tries. I disabled it after a couple days.

    As for losing your hand, well, I would think that most criminals would not risk the much higher penalty for doing that, not to mention the much tougher fight most people would put up. I've also heard scanners have an even

    • by zuiraM (1027890)

      If someone's actually willing to chop of your finger or hand, are you really going to give them a hassle about it?

      I mean, come on, what do you think your subjective evaluation of their willingness to go further would be in that situation?

      Especially given how they're not likely to be stupid enough to try something like that without a weapon to threaten you with, or multiple assailants at the same time. Just consider the fact that they're going to have to bring something to actually get it off with. At th

      • by Dunbal (464142) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:40AM (#18021600)
        If someone's actually willing to chop of your finger or hand, are you really going to give them a hassle about it?

              You bet.

              What, are you just going to "do what the gun says"? Your best chance is to try to get away. Who says they're not going to kill you, if they're willing to cut your finger off. Why leave a witness alive?
        • Interestingly enough, in nearly all states the penalties for kidnapping equal or exceed the penalties for murder (particularly if it's not first degree). So the same goes for if someone is trying to kidnap you... there's no compelling for them to leave you alive, and in fact there are a lot of compelling reasons for them not to, so you should do your best to escape. Not that that will probably ever be useful information for any of us, but it is somewhat interesting (at least imo).

          Cheers.
      • by sporkme (983186)
        I would just put said finger in the jamb of a door and kick it shut. Just saying. I mean, the data are so valuable that they went to the expense of biometrics! zomg
      • If someone's actually willing to chop of your finger or hand, are you really going to give them a hassle about it?
        Since the 21st century seems to be populated mostly by terrorized weaklings, I doubt an attacker would have to go that far.

        "Give me your fingerprints, or I'll hold my breath till I turn blue!" would probably be sufficient... if not, one could always threaten to say some really bad words.

    • by AMindLost (967567)
      I've got one of the Lenovo laptops with the fingerprint scanner as well. There does seem to be a knack to it, although I can now always log in with the first or second attempt, usually the first. The knack seems to be to be a quite slow and smooth slide across the scanner. I'm pretty sure Lenovo only put it on their notebooks so that people can gasp at our "secret agent" laptop:)
      • by butlerdi (705651)
        Much easier on a laptop. We beta tested handhelds with fingerprint scanners and it is really difficult to get a good read while trying to position the device and finger properly. Also when phone is ringing you are generally trying to access the call as quickly as possible. Even the Compaq PDA's were a pain, on smaller devices this is just frustrating..
    • by FSWKU (551325)

      If it works as badly as Lenovo's scanner, fuggedaboutit. I didn't really ask for one, but it came with my Lenovo and I thought it would be interesting to try. Sure enough I could not log in without a successful scan, but it usually took 5 or 6 tries. I disabled it after a couple days.

      Are you sure you set it up correctly? I'm writing this on a Thinkpad T60, and have absolutely no issues whatsoever with the fingerprint scanner. If it takes me more than one or two tries (which happens VERY rarely), then I re

  • gummy bears (Score:4, Informative)

    by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @04:24AM (#18021284)
    That stuff they make gummy bears out of is great for making fake fingerprints [theregister.co.uk] using someone's latent print, some crazy glue, a digital camera, Photoshop, a transparency sheet, a photo-sensitive PCB, and gummy bear gelatin. You can destroy everything but the gelatin, break into a facility that uses a fingerprint reader for security, and then eat the last bit of evidence.
  • If I'm not mistaken, this technology has already been implemented in some Japanese phones. I recall seeing it advertised on the http://www.nttdocomo.com/ [nttdocomo.com] website more than a year ago. Other features at the time included what equates to our PayPass, except that it was inside your cell phone. Another more widely used feature was the barcode scanners that would allow you to take a picture with your phone's camera of a square-shaped barcode that could be found on many advertisements and products and then fin
  • No fingers, you insensitive clod!
  • Backdoor? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VincenzoRomano (881055) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @04:31AM (#18021320) Homepage Journal
    Almost all phones have backdoors that can be used easily without opening the phone itself.
    All of them can be "cracked" by opening the case.
    Both are available for repair centers (and hackers as well).
    So if someone really needs your data, he will get them, with or without your chopped finger!
    • by jrumney (197329)
      Some phones are starting to encrypt their storage, so breaking into them through the servicing routes is not going to get you much information. Windows Mobile 6 will encrypt any external storage card [zdnet.com] if configured to, for example.
      • Data encryption on a cellphone cannot be too powerful as the computing resources are quite scarce while access speed is important.
        Moreover some algorythms [slashdot.org] have been proven to be breakable.
        I still think finger prints on cell phones is just marketing buzz.
        • by jrumney (197329)

          Symmetric encryption algorithms are not very computing intensive, cell phones today have plenty of CPU power compared to the PCs of 15 years ago that used to run the same algorithms acceptably.

          Moreover some algorythms have been proven to be breakable.

          Anyone who uses SHA-1 or MD5 for encryption is going to be waiting a looooong time to decrypt their data, even on the fastest processors. Best steer clear of them for encryption, regardless of how "breakable" they are.

  • I think Toshiba is breaking new ground with this phone and its release is likely to start a trend. The need for security is actually higher for a mobile handset than for a laptop, as they get lost far more often.

    And despite the various comments about cutting off fingers and lifting fingerprints, have we seen much of that in the laptop world? No. Will it happen one day? Maybe.

    I've seen this phone at 3GSM, and the other point that is missing is that the fingerprint reader can also be used as a navigation devi
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DrSkwid (118965)
      > The need for security is actually higher for a mobile handset than for a laptop, as they get lost far more often.

      So why carry unencrypted sensitive data on them ?

      • by stupendou (466135)

        Why indeed? Encrypt it if you're worried, or for most people, just let the fingerprint unlock the phone so even unencrypted data is somewhat protected.
        • I still don't understand why you think my phone needs more security than my laptop per se. If I think I'm going to lose something often then I should assume I am going to lose it at any moment ergo I should make sure it's notionally disposable. Even my ancient Pentium III T23 laptop would cost me more to replace than my brand new Nokia so why does it need a biometric. It's not a Lawgiver!

      • There are 11 types of people in the world, those who know binaries and those who don't.
        Surely there are two (10) types of people, not three (11).
        • yeah (Score:2, Informative)

          by DrSkwid (118965)
          *surely* there's only *one* binary

          congratulations, you're number 3 (0100) not 2 (0011) or 1 (0001)

          to feel the need to correct me
      • ...on a work mobile, the contacts in your phone book may be, and probably are, sensitive. Have a look at your own - have you got direct dial numbers, names, departments etc that could be used by a social engineer?
    • Groan. Here we go again..

      I think Toshiba is breaking new ground with this phone and its release is likely to start a trend.

      I most certainly hope not, for reasons stated below.

      The need for security is actually higher for a mobile handset than for a laptop, as they get lost far more often.

      The need for protecting an asset has little to do with the frequency or potential for loss, more with the information that would be lost or compromised (different facets with different ratings) and that is a very p
      • Millions of laptops are sold with fingerprint scanners nowadays.
        How many people do you know who have had their fingers cut off to access data?
        How many people have had their eyeballs popped out to fool retinal and iris scanners?

        Most thieves look for convenient opportunities rather than bloody, messy, longer jail-sentence crimes.

        And if you insist on fast-forwarding to a future where biometrics are the ONLY way to gain access, why do you assume no one in the future will solve the problem of cut-off fingers foo
        • At the moment there are still alternative methods of access so the forcible removal of body parts is not happening yet (except for people carrying a donor codicil, but that's organ /trade/ and another story altogether). Under threat you can choose to give access.

          There are already scanners that check for things like body heat and (IMHO a more clever idea) a pulse in roughly the same way as a hospital finger pulse reader does it, but the pulse one has the problem that it's possible to pick up latent prints f
  • by MarkRose (820682) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @04:37AM (#18021346) Homepage
    If someone wants to chop my hand off to use my cell, well, I'll just give him the finger!
  • Nothing new! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by KNicolson (147698) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @04:41AM (#18021360) Homepage

    My wife's phone from three years ago had one. It also incorporated a dog game/simulator, and one of the ways to make the dog happy was to get your fingerprint swiped in order to pet the dog.

    Now, what is new and interesting is the 813SH for Biz [gearfuse.com] which has a remote control data destruct option, or even the slightly older P903i which comes with a wireless DES dongle [msn.com] that locks the phone once it gets out of range.

    • by ajlitt (19055)
      Sounds like BluePill [palmpowerups.com] for PalmOS Treos. This is an app that can lock or format all internal and external storage when it receives an SMS containing a command keyword that you specify. It can even respond via SMS that the operation is complete or to a "ping" command to determine if the device is still alive and connected. If only Palm made AGPS available in these phones...
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:07AM (#18021434) Homepage Journal
    I asked this at a research conference once(it was about mobile phone security as well) and the researcher, who had drawn out all these equations showing how wonderful the fingerprint security was couldn't answer me. For a device like a mobile phone that tends to get tossed around and abused a lot, I wouldn't imagine that the scanner breaking would be all that rare of an occurence. However, the researcher just said that if the fingerprint scanning device was broken, then you could use a password instead, of course this was after he spent the first 5 minutes of his presentation telling us how passwords were insecure. Assuming that passwords are insecure, wouldn't the first thing an attacker does when getting the phone be to smash the fingerprint scanner? Then what was the point?
    • by eddy (18759)

      I'm no big fan of biometrics, but I believe the idea is that you can have a way longer password than you'd usually have, probably written down somewhere at home instead of memorized, because you'd only use it on "rare occasions" where the convinent biometrics break down.

      Again, I don't buy into biometrics, especially not as a single-point of "security", but that's how I'd expect a vendor to defend himself against your argument.

      • You wouldn't be able to complain, so your view wouldn't be heard and you couldn't prove that you exist. The antecedent to this surely must be that fingerless handless people *do not exist*.
    • I have one of these scanners on my laptop. Its great. I have a nice complex password for access that I can skip simply by scanning a finger. I like the convienence. Do I think its anymore secure? Not in the least.

      Its better for me that using a usb key or such, I am not going to lose my finger
      • by digitig (1056110)
        There is one sense in which it is more secure. I don't have to worry about anybody looking over my shoulder to see my password if I'm scanning my finger.
  • Like if you have kids that use your phone all the time. Or if you leave your phone in the office and don't want people using it to make calls when you're out. Or even the sheer fact that it will act as a deterrent for your average thief.

    Not everyone has military grade secrets on their phone, but a vast majority of people who will steal mobile phones won't be interested in the numbers/sms/etc on the phone anyway.

    Granted, if people want your info, they will get it.
    • by Tanuki64 (989726)

      Or if you leave your phone in the office and don't want people using it to make calls when you're out.
      People like that deserve whatever is done with their phone. Preferably long and very expensive phone calls. Constantly ringing cell phones are always an annoyance, but leaving it lying around in an office without being able to take calls as fast as possible, so that colleagues are bothered by the ringing, should be considered harassment at work.
      • by therufus (677843)
        Maybe where you work. Where I work we all put our personal phones on silent when we're at work. So an annoyance they are not. Fingerprint ID would be handy though.
  • as i have previously mentioned in an older post, i used to participate in a reasearch at my uni for a major mobile phone company (sony ericsson) for the implementation of fingerprint recognition on cell phones and other mobile devices (PDAs,notebooks,etc). Personally i preffer the fingerprint sollution rather than the RFID one because the phone's security is up to you and not as "hollow" as RFID can be by the use of reverse engineering. It's simple, if your phone is stolen the perp needs to have your thumb
    • by strider44 (650833)
      Not sure about that. It's been repeatedly shown that fingerprint readers aren't secure and can be broken trivially. Not only this but they are unreliable with plenty of false-negatives. The biggest practical problem though is that you're moving the danger from something mostly harmless to lose (your phone) to something stupidly horrific to lose (your finger or even your hand). You need to think of what you're protecting here - I'd rather have the phone in danger than a finger.

      Biometrics have never be
    • by RMH101 (636144)
      "You cannot reverse engineer a fingerprint simply because you cannot have a clue on how the actual fingerpint is shaped" - unless of course you have a handy source of copies of the owner's fingerprints ALL OVER THE PHONE CASING ALREADY!
  • Of course it also means that someone is more likely to chop your hand off if they desperately want your data.

    Only if the scanner can read cold severed digits! :)

    • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
      Warm the finger up by, say, holding it in your hand for a while.

      I very much doubt a scanner can tell the difference between a warmed up finger and a living one.

      Heck, they can't tell the difference between a finger and a gummy bear at the moment...
  • May I be about the only person here to say that this sounds like a good idea. Fair enough it's not secure enough to protect your uber secret data but realistically how many of use are carrying information that is that vital in our mobile phone? What most of use want the password for is to make our phone virtually worthless if stolen. If you are carrying around data that is very important then I would suggest so other form of encryption.

  • What if ... (Score:2, Interesting)

    my hands are dirty?
  • ... the fingerprint scanner also doubles up as a touch-sensitive scroll interface that lets you scroll down emails, menus or Web sites simply by sliding your finger over it. While it may seem strange to have the scanner on the back, it's actually quite well placed because your fingers are on the back of the phone when you're holding it.

    This sounds a more sensible use and kudos if they didn't patent [slashdot.org] it.


  • I don't know that people would need to chop your hand off to get your data. I mean, all they'd need would be your fingerprint. But where would they find that? Oh, wait, they already have your LOVELY SHINY PLASTIC PHONE THAT YOU TOUCH WITH YOUR FINGERS AND THAT HAS FINGERPRINTS ALL OVER IT.

    So I'm a little skeptical. Another thing that makes me skeptical is that I've worked with lots of devices that require fingerprint scans, and honestly for the tiny amount of security they add the inconvenience is so hu
  • They'd only want your finger.
    • Yeah, but which finger? Best to take them all - you wouldn't want to get stuck with a phone and the wrong finger. Though, I suppose you could always make a cup of chili with it, so it wouldn't be a total loss.
  • I'd rather have my finger chopped off than terrorized for my pin code!

    Actually, if your phone or the content in the phone is that valuable, then you deserve your finger chopped off
  • ...when they pry it from my cold, dead hand.

    Oh wait.
  • I really haven't met anyone who locks their phone, regularly, with a PIN anyway. It's a lot of hassle for what is often data that is more important to have a backup copy of than to secure from other people.

    So it seems to me that this is even more overkill.

    I did have a phone once, a Sanyo (SCP-6400 I think) that allowed you, if you setup the feature, to send a specially encoded text message with a password, to the phone, which would erase the phones data. I thought that was a nifty feature if the phone were
  • Of course it also means that someone is more likely to chop your hand off if they desperately want your data

    Has this ever happened? People always bring it out as an argument against fingerprint scanners (or other biometrics) but I've never seen a news report of anyone having their bits chopped off to access their data. And you'd think if it happened it would definitely make the headlines just for the yuck factor.

As long as we're going to reinvent the wheel again, we might as well try making it round this time. - Mike Dennison

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