The Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Developments in privacy law and writings of a Canadian privacy lawyer, containing information related to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (aka PIPEDA) and other Canadian and international laws.

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The author of this blog, David T.S. Fraser, is a Canadian privacy lawyer who practices with the firm of McInnes Cooper. He is the author of the Physicians' Privacy Manual. He has a national and international practice advising corporations and individuals on matters related to Canadian privacy laws.

For full contact information and a brief bio, please see David's profile.

Please note that I am only able to provide legal advice to clients. I am not able to provide free legal advice. Any unsolicited information sent to David Fraser cannot be considered to be solicitor-client privileged.

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The views expressed herein are solely the author's and should not be attributed to his employer or clients. Any postings on legal issues are provided as a public service, and do not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained herein or linked to. Nothing herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel.

This web site is presented for informational purposes only. These materials do not constitute legal advice and do not create a solicitor-client relationship between you and David T.S. Fraser. If you are seeking specific advice related to Canadian privacy law or PIPEDA, contact the author, David T.S. Fraser.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Researchers say distorting biometric images enhances security, privacy 

Biometrics are lauded as among the most secure and accurate methods of verifying identites, but they are not foolproof. Fingerprint recognition systems have been fooled by Gummi Bears and I expect that dozens of people are toiling away in basements trying to figure out how to trick other forms of biometric identification.

Another threat to biometrics is the security of the database against which physical characteristics are compared. If you crack that database, you'll have all the datapoints you need to present to defeat the system. The Detroit News is reporting today on research being carried out by IBM to improve the security of those databases. It involves using an algorithm to distort the image collected, which is then compared to a database of similarly distorted images. This way, the database does not contain "cleartext" data that aligns with the actual data to be collected. If the system is comproised, a new distortion algorithm is introduced and the old data is supposedly useless. I'd think that coupling this with a one-way hash of the data would also be a good idea, but what do I know?


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