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Motorola Developing Pill and Tattoo Authentication Methods 194

Posted by Soulskill
from the slashdot-branding-authentication-coming-soon dept.
redletterdave writes "In trying to solve the 'mechanical mismatch' between humans and electronics — particularly wearables — special projects chief Regina Dugan unveiled two new projects currently in development at Google's Motorola Mobility centered on rethinking authentication methodology, including electronic tattoos and ingestible pills. Of the pill, which Dugan called her 'first superpower,' she described it as an 'inside-out potato battery' that when swallowed, the acids in one's stomach serve as the electrolyte to power an 18-bit ECG-like signal that essentially turns one's body into an authentication token. 'It means my arms are like wires and my hands are like alligator clips [so] when I touch my phone, my computer, my door, I'm authenticated,' Dugan said. 'This is not science fiction.'"
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Motorola Developing Pill and Tattoo Authentication Methods

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 31, 2013 @10:43AM (#43873461)

    Didn't we have a problem with this in Europe last century?

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      This would be voluntary. That is a pretty big difference.

      • not in prison if they want to have some thing like this.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          Having some form of ID in prison is already not voluntary. That is sort of the point.

      • by kheldan (1460303) on Friday May 31, 2013 @11:27AM (#43874037) Journal

        This would be voluntary. That is a pretty big difference.

        At first. It would be voluntary at first.
        There are many people in power in this world today who would love to be able to tattoo some sort of ID on people from birth, or embed an RFID in their bodies at birth, and so on, so they can be tracked everywhere they go (with greater ease than we already are with goddamn fucking cameras everywhere. NO. JUST. NO.
        Yes, I understand the article is talking about something like a henna tattoo or a sticker you wear.. but it would set a dangerous precedent. The line has to be drawn here, no farther!

        • by jeffmeden (135043) on Friday May 31, 2013 @11:39AM (#43874185) Homepage Journal

          This would be voluntary. That is a pretty big difference.

          At first. It would be voluntary at first.
          There are many people in power in this world today who would love to be able to tattoo some sort of ID on people from birth, or embed an RFID in their bodies at birth, and so on, so they can be tracked everywhere they go (with greater ease than we already are with goddamn fucking cameras everywhere. NO. JUST. NO.
          Yes, I understand the article is talking about something like a henna tattoo or a sticker you wear.. but it would set a dangerous precedent. The line has to be drawn here, no farther!

          Some perspective du jour...

          Rewind 50 years:
          "You mean those fuckers are going to require that they have my picture just so I can get a drivers license? Hell no! Let's draw the line in the sand! The MAN already knows too much about me, and it would set an unthinkable precedent!"

          Fast forward 5 years (maybe less):
          "Oh, wait, you mean it will make my email and phone and bank account basically un-hackable in the face of wave after wave of cybertheft? Yeah, well, ok let's draw the line just a little further out"

          • by kheldan (1460303)
            I see. So are you declaring that you'd be OK with a state-mandated permanent tattoo on your skin, or an RFID tag surgically implanted in your body? Mandated, as in you submit to it or are imprisoned? That's where this is going, and I and many others are not OK with it.
            • by moj0joj0 (1119977)

              I see. So are you declaring that you'd be OK with a state-mandated permanent tattoo on your skin, or an RFID tag surgically implanted in your body? Mandated, as in you submit to it or are imprisoned? That's where this is going, and I and many others are not OK with it.

              I think you should think that bit through a little more.

              Driver's licenses are state mandated to operate a vehicle legally in the United States. I haven't had a driver's license since about 1994, I still drive almost daily, I have insurance on my cars and they function just fine. I do have an ID card that has my picture on it, (I do still sometimes get carded at some pubs or when buying smokes) however that card has very old data on it. I have been pulled over, but presenting my ID card and insurance has

              • I haven't had a driver's license since about 1994, I still drive almost daily, I have insurance on my cars and they function just fine. I do have an ID card that has my picture on it, (I do still sometimes get carded at some pubs or when buying smokes) however that card has very old data on it. I have been pulled over, but presenting my ID card and insurance has been more than sufficient for the officer.

                ...and you're saying that in all this time, no police officer that pulls you over has ever, *ever* cited you for having an expired license that's nearly 20 years out-of-date?

                What state/country do you live in?

            • by jeffmeden (135043)

              I see. So are you declaring that you'd be OK with a state-mandated permanent tattoo on your skin, or an RFID tag surgically implanted in your body? Mandated, as in you submit to it or are imprisoned? That's where this is going, and I and many others are not OK with it.

              Not sure if "whoosh"

              Or just "splat"

              Eh here goes: Does everyone either have a drivers license, or live in fear of being jailed? And how is that "huge mandated database of photos and identities" working out for us? Is it the end times yet? Are dogs and cats living together? Any mass (government-induced) hysteria?

        • by Russ1642 (1087959)
          Gay Marriage is voluntary AT FIRST!!! But soon everyone will be required to be gay married.
      • Yeah, it's voluntary. But, more and more banks use it, more and more retailers use it, employers use it, then Wal-Mart says that all credit card users MUST have it, then the state says that all beneficiaries of Medicaid, food stamps, social security, and unemployment benefits MUST have it.

        Give it ten years, and "voluntary" will be a completely meaningless descriptor.

        "Well, Junior, there's no law that says you HAVE TO swallow this pill, but you can't get a job, you can't buy groceries, you can't see the doc

    • Not that I believe in voodoo/magic... but the bible talks about something like this too... requirement for trade etc.

      I also remember something similar in the movie Demolition Man as well... Are you an Oscar Mayer Weiner?
  • Temporary token (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 31, 2013 @10:44AM (#43873475)

    So I have to check my poop all the time for my auth token?

    Eat it again? Renegotiate?

    How do you authenticate yourself without the "inside out potato" - not science fiction maybe, but rather far out research - I like it ! :)

    • by Richy_T (111409) on Friday May 31, 2013 @12:28PM (#43874953) Homepage

      Brings a new meaning to "Logging out"

    • by cusco (717999)
      There are already RFID tags that can be fed to cattle to track them throughout the entire life cycle that have little hooks. The tag lodges in the intestinal tract until the animal is slaughtered.
  • by fredan (54788) on Friday May 31, 2013 @10:45AM (#43873491) Homepage Journal
    So that I've got 36-bits of this securitybits!
  • by AioKits (1235070) on Friday May 31, 2013 @10:46AM (#43873495)
    Good news! It's a suppository!
  • by Farmer Pete (1350093) on Friday May 31, 2013 @10:50AM (#43873541)
    What goes in, must come out. I'm not sure if I'd like to swallow a pill every day for authentication. Besides, it doesn't seem that secure. What's to stop my friend from taking my pills and authenticating as me? The Tattoo idea may be better, but it better be secure. You can't exactly "Patch" a tattoo with a security fix.
    • What goes in, must come out. I'm not sure if I'd like to swallow a pill every day for authentication. Besides, it doesn't seem that secure. What's to stop my friend from taking my pills and authenticating as me? The Tattoo idea may be better, but it better be secure. You can't exactly "Patch" a tattoo with a security fix.

      C'mon, coward, the patching process is a routine inpatient procedure [wikipedia.org], and isn't quite as gruesome, painful, or infection-prone as that picture makes it look.

      Happy patch Tuesday!

    • I'm not sure if I'd like to swallow a pill every day for authentication.

      Doesn't have to be every day. The pill thing would be most useful for temporary authentication procedures. Issued to authorize someone for a limited time only. I could see some circumstances where the pill thing could be useful. I could see it being used as a second factor id for military, etc. Think similar to a visitor badge but harder to lose.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Tattoo authentication...I just see Idiocracy.

  • by Aryden (1872756) on Friday May 31, 2013 @10:51AM (#43873581)
    Because nothing at all could go wrong with changing your body chemistry to turn you into a battery for the purpose of unlocking a phone....
    • by MightyYar (622222)

      I change my body chemistry all the time, just for recreation. If this thing is powered by booze, I'm all for it.

      • by Aryden (1872756)
        well sure, you change it for short (relatively) periods of time not for 24/7.
        • by MightyYar (622222)

          This pill uses magnesium (and copper as the cathode, which should stay intact), so no worries. You need around 400mg/day just to stay healthy. The pill is FDA and CE certified.

    • by ArsonSmith (13997)

      Using biological energy to make a device work, wasn't there a movie based on this?

  • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Friday May 31, 2013 @10:56AM (#43873653) Journal

    I poop information!

  • GOOGLE IS A TOOL OF THE ANTICHRIST!

    It's true! I read it in this little pamphlet I found on the subway!! [chick.com]

    .
  • Instead of focusing on ergonomics they should simply force the user to wear a cattle ear tag. After all, cattle is what the government and corporate America think we all are.
  • Well, fuck. (Score:5, Funny)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday May 31, 2013 @11:00AM (#43873695) Journal

    What kind of shitty future did I wake up in where 'unlocking your cellphone' is a "superpower"?

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      One in which marketing wants to convince us this is a good idea.

      I for one have no intention of using either of these proposed methods, and Motorolla can go pound sand.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      The kind where we are solving so many issues that this sort of stuff is what is left. Sure lots of disease and that sort of thing being worked on, but that is not what moto does.

      People just don't notice how awesome 2013 is because they are jaded.

    • by Ambvai (1106941)

      That's STILL a better superpower than this poor guy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arm_Fall_Off_Boy [wikipedia.org]

      I believe the URL says it all.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      One in which Google is running things. First their phones are sentient, now convincing them you're you is a superpower, but requires you tag yourself.

    • What kind of shitty future did I wake up in where 'unlocking your cellphone' is a "superpower"?

      Don't know man, humanity's changing and more and more people are waking up with new and strange powers. Take me, for example... A couple of weeks ago I discovered I have the power to look through solid windows!

  • by Naatach (574111)
    I'd get the tattoo only if it goes on my hand or forehead. Can you hear Jerry Falwell & his type screaming yet?
  • Maybe the electronic tattoos can be personalized, allowing a user to project a retro "holocaust concentration camp ID number" type vibe.
  • This is all well and fine, until they herd us all into some kind of processing center and then hook us up like some kind of "D" cell in series to power the mastermind machine...

  • by DigitAl56K (805623) on Friday May 31, 2013 @11:11AM (#43873835)

    Tattoos are permanent, technology moves on at an incredible pace. This seems like a bad idea.

  • by femtobyte (710429) on Friday May 31, 2013 @11:12AM (#43873847)

    'It means my arms are like wires and my hands are like alligator clips [so] when I touch my phone, my computer, my door, I'm authenticated,'

    So, whenever you hold a metal hand rail walking down stairs, someone just needs to hook up a sensor to it to grab your authentication signal and relay it to your "secure" devices? This doesn't seem like a particularly more secure biometric than the "old fashioned" iris or fingerprint scans; anyone else can intercept your authentication signal any time you touch any object which they can insert sensors into.

  • 'It means my arms are like wires and my hands are like alligator clips [so] when I touch my phone, my computer, my door, I'm authenticated,' Dugan said. 'This is not science fiction.'

    "I assume your handprint will open this door whether you are conscious or not." - Commander Data, Star Trek TNG episode "A Matter of Time"

  • by houbou (1097327)
    interesting.. wonder how hacking a human is gonna be like? can somebody be turned into a cyber terrorist, simply because his signal was hacked and used for illegal activities? then you become a human beacon.. does that make sense?
  • So you can't just cut off the person's finger to activate some lock somewhere, like you can with fingerprint ID. But it seems to me that you can easily make a device that copies the ID just by touching it to their skin. Unless it has challenge/authentication, of course. If so, then you need to physically kidnap the person.
  • Brings a whole new meaning to the man in the middle attack.

  • This idea is terrible. It is even worse than RFID credit cards. Since it has active electronics, I assume this is able to do challenge/response authentication, which is good. But how do you disable it? Somebody just "bumps" into you with a scanner and pays their dinner bill with your gut. At least RFID-chipped cards can be stored in a conductive pouch to prevent walk-by theft.

    Whatever shape these new authentication methods take, they need to be at minimum:

    (1) Challenge/Response based, and
    (2) Momentary

  • by freeze128 (544774) on Friday May 31, 2013 @11:31AM (#43874083)
    ...Because I'm a potato!
  • by LVSlushdat (854194) on Friday May 31, 2013 @11:57AM (#43874431)

    I just wonder *how* they intend to *keep* it in the stomach.. Many people know instictively that items that enter the stomach pretty much *leave* the stomach in a fairly short period of time.. Unless they intend this to be a temporary authentication, and make you keep eating these "pills", to keep the effect working, they have a *bit* more work to do, in my opinion... VERY cool idea tho...

  • As an added bonus, It might be an effective weight loss product too if the pill obstructs your gastro-intestinal track. All jokes aside, this pill could have positive implications in addition to authentication.

That does not compute.

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