Japenese researchers warn of identity theft from peace sign in photographs
Japanese researchers are warning people to stop flashing the popular two-fingered pose in selfies that represents peace or victory as it can put them at risk of identity theft.
According to researchers from Japan's National Institute of Informatics (NII), these photos can be used to capture fingerprints and can possibly lead to leaking personal information.
Researchers themselves are able to copy fingerprints from the images taken by a digital camera 9 feet away from the subject. They suggest that the fingerprints of a person can be easily obtained from these images and it does not even require advanced technology to copy them.
The findings raise concern about the influx of such close-up photographs on social media sites, which expose the medal and index fingers and increase the chances of identity theft.
“Just by casually making a peace sign in front of a camera, fingerprints can become widely available,” NII researcher Isao Echizen said in a statement.
“Fingerprint data can be recreated if fingerprints are in focus with strong lighting in a picture.”
Echizen added. “Biometric information cannot be changed over the course of a person’s lifetime. I want to raise awareness so people know how to protect themselves.”
Echizen and his colleagues have also developed a method to prevent fingerprint data from stealing – a transparent film that has white titanium oxide printed on it in a specific pattern. The film is currently in its initial stages. Once available, it could be placed on the fingertips and prevent capturing fingerprints.