Nick Vivion asks, “Could this new Wi-Fi technology revolutionize airport security?”
Some of the most promising new technology has emerged from a multi-year project from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab: a Wi-Fi network that can identify who you are — even through a wall. Yep, you read that right. These geniuses have built a way to implement Wi-Fi as a means to identify the unique characteristics of individual humans.
The RF Capture technology is able to analyze how Wi-Fi signals bounce off a human being to create an outline similar to what you might see from a millimeter wave scanner. The secret sauce is a reconstruction algorithm that stitches the many refracted waves into an image and then analyses the results. The system was able to identify 15 different people with a 90% accuracy.
The last sentence is meaningless. There are two types of errors. False positives and false negatives. Which type is this 90% numbers? Furthermore there are two types meanings of “identify” in biometrics. There is, “Who is this person?” (identification). And there is, “Is this person who they say they are? (verification)”. If they are identifying one person out of a population of 15 90% of the time then the success with of a population of 100s, 1000s, or millions is going to be insignificant. If they talking about verification then it means that one out of ten times an imposter is falsely verified. This is way too poor.
If that isn’t enough they don’t address the fundamental difficulty with security. That is that you have an active adversary. The adversary is going to do whatever they can to fool you. Wi-Fi signals bounce off of humans, as shown in the video below, but they bounce of metal even better. A little bit of aluminum foil underneath your shirt and you will appear as a completely different image to their technology. Some outdoor clothing has aluminum built into it for heat retention. This would play havoc with their tech.
Vivion should have asked a security expert his question. The answer would have been “No. Next question.”