Feeds

Biometrics exhibit blushes over email snafu

Fingerprints, iris scans sprayed to all comers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

An exhibition designed to show off the whizzy high-tech futurescape of biometric identity has succumbed to a bout of very contemporary gremlins, by emailing dozens of fingerprints and iris scans to the wrong people.

After being contacted by El Reg the website where the Wellcome Collection's "Medicine Now" show offers visitors the chance to view their biometrics data, and see it expressed as as a unique pretty flower diagram, has been suspended. A message on the site says: "We are currently experiencing technical difficulties. Please check back soon."

The security glitch was spotted by Reg reader Robert, who visited the Wellcome Collection last Sunday. The email he received today contained working links to 36 individuals' fingerprint, iris scan and special flower.

The Wellcome Trust, which owns the Wellcome Collection, sent us this statement:

The Wellcome Trust would like to apologise for any concern caused by the recent technical error in its Biometrics interactive exhibit at Wellcome Collection. The exhibit captures a person's pulse rate, height, age, fingerprint and iris scan and generates a "biometric identity" expressed as a graphic icon. The user is then invited to receive a copy of their biometric identity by email.

It has come to our attention that a technical error has resulted in users of the exhibit receiving URL links to data sets of around 40 other users. These profiles do not contain identifiers such as names or email addresses.

The Wellcome Trust has investigated whether erroneous transmission of the data captured could constitute a breach of confidentiality or pose a security risk. It is satisfied that this is not the case.

We can reassure visitors that no attributable personal information has been passed on, but understand our visitors' concerns and have therefore removed the exhibit from use until any technical issues can be resolved.

On the visitor pages we saw fingerprint and iris scans were low-res, black and white images. The emails indeed didn't contain anyone else's name or email address. Very likely no harm done then, but as a sojourn in Tomorrow's World™ it's hardly a confidence-builder. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Premier League wants to PURGE ALL FOOTIE GIFs from social media
Not paying Murdoch? You're gonna get a right LEGALLING - thanks to automated software
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
XBOX One will learn to play media from USB and DLNA sources
Hang on? Aren't those file formats you hardly ever see outside torrents?
Class war! Wikipedia's workers revolt again
Bourgeois paper-shufflers have 'suspended democracy', sniff unpaid proles
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.