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Police 3D Print Dead Man's Fingers To Unlock Phone
Last month, law enforcement officers showed up at the lab of Anil
Jain, a professor at Michigan State University. Jain wasn’t in
trouble; the officers wanted his help.
Jain is a computer science professor who works on biometric
identifiers such as facial recognition programs, fingerprint scanners
and tattoo matching; he wants to make them as difficult to hack as
possible. But the police were interested in the opposite of this: they
wanted his help to unlock a dead man’s phone.
Jain and his PhD student Sunpreet Arora couldn’t share details of the
case with me, since it’s an ongoing investigation, but the gist is
this: a man was murdered, and the police think there might be clues to
who murdered him stored in his phone. But they can’t get access to the
phone without his fingerprint or passcode. So instead of asking the
company that made the phone to grant them access, they’re going
another route: having the Jain lab create a 3D printed replica of the
victim’s fingers. With them, they hope to unlock the phone.
And Jain said he was happy to help when they got in touch: “We do it
for the fun.”
Just like telecoms, government "asks", university gives, for teh lols.