German interior minister's fingerprint replicated

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 30, 2008
Updated • Dec 30, 2012

What's a good way of catching the attention of someone who is advocating the use of biometrics? German interior minister Wolfgang Schäuble is pushing biometrics and data collection in Germany all for the sake of security and the fight against terrorism just like the minister's counterparts in other countries are at the moment.

The Chaos Computer Club, a renowned and popular club of hackers and privacy advocates, decided to let the minister taste some of his own medicine by replicating the fingerprint of the minister and publishing that fingerprint in their magazine.

The fingerprint was available as a print in the magazine and on transparency slide ready to be put on the fingers of the readers of it. The sample was apparently taken from a glass that Schäuble was drinking at a panel discussion in Berlin.

The club also published a step by step instruction on how they managed to replicate the fingerprints. The process itself requires only a handful of common materials, a computer and laser printer, nothing that can't be acquired in a regular tools store.

Here is a instructional video (in German with English subs) that explains how fingerprints can be identified, copied to the computer, and printed. All it takes are materials that you can purchase for a couple of Dollars (with the exception of the digital camera but that is something that many already have in their households) to duplicate fingerprints that you come across.

This highlights how insecure biometrics are when it comes to identities as criminals can make use of the same technologies to fake fingerprints for IDs or when they are controlled by the police or other organizations.


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  1. Eddy McDonald said on March 30, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    There is no security possible in the digital
    universe.Computers understand only strings of
    1s & 0s.They do not know what a song ,a document ,a picture , a face or a fingerprint is .Copy or reproduce the string and voila! ,there is the stuff.

  2. OldSailor said on March 30, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    Here is one more application of a computer and a laser printer well explained.

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