Category: Networking

What happens to your internet security when your fingerprints are stolen?

There is recent news that the US government last 5.6 million fingerprints to unknown people in a cyber-attack. While it is worrisome, I don’t blame the government, it seems like it can happen to anyone.  For example, pretty much every store and business cannot keep our credit cards safe.  If we take it as a given that if something is stored on a network, eventually it will fall into the hands of people not authorized to have it, then it is OK to worry about the significant loss of data, and in this case, not credit card data, but rather fingerprint data.

We have been told that passwords are inherently unsafe because they can be hacked or stolen.  And because passwords are unsafe, we need a new “safe” method of authenticating to the network – and the “safest” way is through biometric data like fingerprints.  So this brings me to my question – at least a password can be changed at the sign of hacking.  Fingerprints cannot be changed.  What are we supposed to do when the “bad guys” get a copy of our fingerprints like has just happened for 5.6 million people?  It is something I am thinking about in the realm of public policy.  Please leave a comment if you have an idea.

100 MB download speeds – Google and Medialawprofessor think alike

Back in 2001 I gave a presentation at a broadband conference where I made the then-bold assertion that each household would need a minimum of 100 MB of undiminishable (ie not shared) bandwidth.  I remember at this same conference that another speaker who was attached to slow DSL speeds made fun of me saying essentially that there was no need for 100MB of bandwidth to every home – he asserted that DSL( then 1.5MB tops) was as fast as anyone would need.  Well it feels good to be right and just about a decade ahead of my time.  Google is now imagining ultra high speed networks to the home and the FCC is proposing its “100 squared initiative” – 100 million homes with 100 MB of service.  In order to stay ahead of the curve, I can now foresee the need for 10GB of service to the home in the next 20 years.  It takes a lot to do a hologram even with good compression….

This is a link to my original 2001 presentation.  Towards the end you will see a couple of slides where I calculate what I think the then-foreseeable need for 100MB might be: