iEspionage at the hardware store?

Posted On: Friday - January 18th 2019 10:39PM MST
In Topics: 
  Artificial Stupidity  iEspionage

Who is the keymaster?

What happens to the key-cut files after your key has been made?
Is it like the instant background checks on gun buyers that are virtually "destroyed"*?

iEspionage is a new Topic Key for Peak Stupidity. For some time, I have meant to write more articles on the unintentional and deliberate intrusions into the privacy of people in this "Informant Information Age". This will be the 2nd one, after The internet of bugs things. If you thought that that 1st post on the subject must have taken some massive marijuana-fueled paranoia to write, well, maybe it's the same for the reading of this one, so take a toke .... ready? (It takes a clear mind to make it read it.) [/Jackson Brown]

Ironically, this post on the fairly-new keymaking machines does NOT apply to that previous post on the modern electronic auto keys. The machines like the one above, that are at home improvement and hardware stores around the nation, are made for cutting plain old one or two sided keys, but NOT the modern auto keys. These machines work well, I must admit. I was happy to get some back-up keys made recently once the original back-ups became the primaries, as the originals got lost. Yeah, that was the long way to say "I lost a bunch of keys, dammit."

As usual, with any new electronically-controlled devices, my mind goes to wondering what happens to the data. In this case, the data is in the form of the key shapes, used to run the cutter to make that copy. Wait, you say, it's just used for that quick purpose and then destroyed. I'd like to believe that. Why would the store or manufacturer of that high-tech machine want to keep all the curves that show how the tumblers are set on your front-door deadbolts or ...? Oooohh ... Yeah, but they are the big corporation and don't want to break into your houses. Sure, but very possibly they have another legitimate reason to keep the data, say, for recovery if you lose all your copies next time. "See, we can help you! Your key is in the Cloud.", that sort of thing. Next thing, they'll be wanting your email address**, so you can order a key delivered to your door next time (maybe right into your living room - it should be easy) to save you spending any time in the real world driving to the hardware store and having to talk to people and crap like that.

The reader may ask "who cares?" The machine doesn't know who you are, so it'd take a concerted criminal effort by these machine's manufacturer to cut replacements to break into houses and steal (older) cars. Yes, you're right about that. OTOH, I made sure I paid cash for the keys. Yes, this is pretty paranoid. Even a serious criminal effort would have to get credit-card data and the key data synched up. Who would do that? Maybe law-enforcement would, when they feel the need, but it'd have to be for a really big case, as the CC company would have to get involved, an the machine's manufacturerer would have to admit they have the data, if they indeed do. Once it gets done once, for an important case of some sort, it'll become the norm, like requesting cell-phone position data.

***** Addendum *****
I realized 1/2 day later that the previous paragraph may sound stupid to a reader that had the self-serve key-making machines in mind. I had the type behind a counter at the hardware store in mind as I wrote the post. In its case, the CC information and the key info are widely separated, hence my discussion on that. For the self-serve machines, in which you can put a CC in a slot, man I could not get myself to do that: "OK, you got it, here's my financial and identity information to go along with the shape of the keys to my house and vehicles. Have fun!" I would hope that they take case too.
***** End-Addendum *****

Is it true you can never be too paranoid? These auto-key-copying machines are impressive and do increase efficiency, well, except when you have to go round and round with the touch screen because you got out of order. This new concept seems pretty innocuous, and I don't see an internet connection to it (though it IS a thing, and there's that "internet of things"). Still, I just marvel at people who never see, or don't care about, the ways that their personal information of ALL SORTS gets saved into files, and sent to and fro, all in the cause of more convenience. It's not just the "if you haven't done anything wrong, then what do you have to worry about? crowd either. People want convenience over integrity. What if your keys and credit-card number did get hacked into for nefarious purposes, I could see some Industrial Strength Identity Theft (ISIT***) in your future, that's what. As written in a footnote below, nobody, but NOBODY really, permanantly deletes big data files. Be iparanoid - make your keys, but pay in cash. iEspionage is all around us.

* The quote marks are there to show a major point. Most data gathered on a whole bunch of people like this is useful to somebody. If it's not marketing people that want it, well, the US Feral Gov't still does. The background check files are destroyed, you say? Nah, in the computer world, storage memory is damn close to free, and nobody just deletes data like this. It remains with somebody. In the case of the gun buying checks, the NICS is nothing but a low-keyed gun registration scheme. If it becomes officially necessary to have that data, it will turn right up.

** I see that these key machines could be very much like the new-fangled blood-pressure measuring "HIGI stations", discussed in New blood-pressure raising monitoring machines. (Yeah, I'm a big, big strike-through guy!) "We just need your information to show your your progress in lowering your blood-pressure. It's so convenient.", would become "We're gonna make it SO EASY to replace your keys next time you lose one."

*** No, ISIT, not ISIS, neither the Moslem terror group nor the 1970's TV cartoon superheroine.

[Updated, 01/19 morning:]
Added addendum to differentiate between self-serve and other machines.

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