WASHINGTON — Your fingerprints might be a major threat to your privacy.
That’s because the images taken by smartphone cameras are so full of detail that it is now possible to copy fingerprints from them, Professor Isao Echizen of Japan’s National Institute of Informatics told The Sankei Shimbun newspaper.
“Just by casually making a peace sign in front of a camera, fingerprints can become widely available,” Echizen said.
The problem: An increasing number of new technologies, including iPhones, use fingerprints to unlock phones. Echizen said fingerprints can be stolen from pictures taken from up to 10 feet away – in other words, ever selfie you’ve taken where your fingerprints could be seen. Many people post such pictures on social media.
“Fingerprint data can be recreated if fingerprints are in focus with strong lighting in a picture,” Echizen told Yomiuri TV.
Even worse, the professor said that advanced technology is not needed to steal fingerprints.
As Digital Trends reported, “The problem is compounded by photos being shared and stored online, creating a gallery of fingerprints for thieves to exploit. The professor points out that unlike a stolen password, which can be quickly changed, your fingerprints are with you forever.”
Echizen’s find has other privacy problems: Cops might be able to identify and locate protestors via a news photograph. All they would need to do is run the fingerprints from the picture through the database.
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