Kiosks that Store Your Keys — And Your Fingerprints (and avoiding facial recognition, more algorithms)

A new startup is putting key-dispensing machines in convenience stores. They scan your key and your fingerprint, so if you ever get locked out you can drop down to the store and pick up a key for 19.99 USD.

This is apparently secure but in fact /terrible/.

Apparently, because anyone who can look up your fingerprint in a database doesn’t need a convenience store machine to decode or impression your lock.

Terrible because… absolutely ANYBODY can lift your fingerprints off your doorknob, make a fake finger (using N million techniques already discussed here) and walk down to get a key for your flat.

Why go to the trouble? Because having a real key for a lock is absurdly convenient for someone looking to break-and-enter. It’s the whole reason “they” pay four or five figures for the Falle pin lock decoder, and only then if they can’t arrange to make a surreptitious mould or impression the lock.

Also, I wonder if the machine is storing common blanks, or doing an EzEntrie-style side milling operation. If the latter (which would only make sense trying to serve city apartment dwellers and the like), this could be a recipe for chaos.

Avoiding face recognition: Someone sent me a neat idea. I don’t know if it would work.

The idea is to use cosmetic wrinkle remover cremes (sold at every department store) to change the face enough that the computer doesn’t recognize you.

Specifically, they’re claimed to shift outer edges of your eyes, thin the opening of your mouth, fill out your brows, and/or change the fullness of your cheeks. (Snake peptides are apparently particularly good for messing with the shape of your mouth.

Going further, allegedly Tabasco sauce and metholated lotions/cremes (and anything else that heats your skin or changes circulation, I would suggest ginger) can foul facial detection systems.

Apparently this technique also works against fingerprints (preventing you from leaving “clean” fingerprints) if used properly.

I’m still a bit skeptical how well this would work. Specifically, random consumer-oriented literature ( seems to indicate that facial recognition systems use markers (like the distance between your eyes and your jawline) that wouldn’t be affected by messing with your skin.

Still, it seems a handy enough idea to have around… and if you have comments for or against, I’d love to here them.

More algorithms: This idea seems to have grown legs.

” Long Island City-based KeyMe is looking to solve that problem with self-service kiosks that store a digital copy of your key. If your key gets lost, just head back to a KeyMe kiosk and get a new one, day or night.

These key-keepers are going up in five 7-Eleven stores across Manhattan this week, KeyMe’s 28-year-old founder and CEO Greg Marsh told the Daily News.

“Three million people get locked out annually in New York City,” Marsh said. “Most call an emergency locksmith and, on average, pay $150. I wanted to come up with a better solution.”

Storing a key with KeyMe is for free. The cost of creating a physical key when you’re locked out is $19.99.

The kiosks can also create on-the-spot duplicates of keys, charging $3.49 for basic brass keys and $5.99 for novelty keys.

Needless to say, none of this is great news for neighborhood locksmiths.

“Unfortunately for me, I think it could catch on,” said Alan Reisner, the owner of ATB Locksmith & Hardware on York Ave. between 84th St. & 85th St., which is just steps away from a KeyMe kiosk at a 7-Eleven at 1594 York Ave.

The other four locations are 224 5th Ave., 368 8th Ave., 676 Amsterdam Ave. and 351 Bowery St.

Some might be wary of handing over a digital version of their key.

Marsh noted that KeyMe employs high-level encryption and doesn’t store addresses or any other data that can match the key information with a location. Logging into your account requires fingerprint authentication.”

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