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Keys, What are they good for? --- Sayin' goodbye to the ignition key


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Keys, what are they good for?
I’m all for technology, especially any technology that makes life easier. Like keyless entry and push button starting systems, just to name a few. As we move further into the ever advancing technology, certain things of mechanical nature will be lost to electronics. Fewer cars are being manufactured that still have keys. Some only have a key fob and no metal or brass back up key at all, and soon you won’t even need those key fobs either. Everything will be programmed and controlled by your smart phone. Yep, one more thing the smart phone has taken over.

What about the poor old lonely key? I guess it’s gone the way of the bench seat and wing windows. Instead of a polished piece of brass, with its saw toothed notches, the key is being replaced by a bits of plastic and a few microchips.

Before the car key fades off into distant memory into the archives of a forgotten age, and ending up under glass cases as some museum attraction, I’d like to salute our faithful old friend, the key, for all the things it has done for us.

We’ve reached a stage in technology that the simple act of turning a mechanical lock can been replaced by RF signals and a few electrons. Though the versatile car key has done so much more for us than turning locks. Oh sure, you can say the same thing about your smart phone, but can a smart phone, or one of those funny looking key fobs, double as a bottle opener? Probably not. Then again, a key might poke ya in your pocket, but it can’t butt dial your ex-girlfriend.

Who hasn’t used their keys to dig in their ears, or used it to scratch an itch? I can’t imagine using a key fob to tighten a loose screw, but the good old key always came in handy for that. You could use a key to pry the lid off a paint can or scrape the ick out of the crevices of a console, and it came in handy for digging out that stuck change in the vending machines, too. Let’s not forget to mention the key’s sidekicks, you know, all those dangly items that people attach to their key rings that do nothing more than weigh them down. Where are all those things going to go now? No keys, no key ring, no more dangly whatchamacallits for the mechanic to sort through to find the ignition key. I don’t think you’re going to attach them to the side of your cell phone any time soon.

Of course, there is one thing that a lot of people would love to see disappear: those nasty scrape marks left when somebody keys your car. I seriously doubt anyone would try to drag a cell phone across a car in the hopes of creating the same degree of damage. Most likely the cell phone would end up with just as many scrape marks as the car would. I guess that’s justice in a way.
Now of course, a key will eventually wear out, but so does the phone. The key can be recopied, but the copy is only as good as what it’s copied from. When a phone wears out or is damage, there’s a possibility of never retrieving all the information stored in it. One of those bits of data might be your cars security coding. Awe, shucks, looks like a trip to the dealer for you. At least with a key ya might have been able to jiggle, wiggle and eventually get it to start the car. You can jiggle and wiggle that phone all you want, but I don’t think it’s going to help.

I don’t want to leave out the bulbous key fobs that a lot of the imports have gone to either. However, when it comes to these key fobs, I can’t think of any suitable second purpose they’ll ever have in their lifetime. Not like the humble key with its thousands and thousands of uses. Sure, the smart phone has thousands of uses, but when the key breaks off in the lock you’re just locked out. When your smart phone locks you out, you’re locked out of everything.

Thinking back to my high school days I can remember using a car key to carve my name in the gym’s pay phone booth, (Yep, a real wooden pay phone booth. Mine wasn’t the only name scratched into those old wooden panels, generations of names were in there). Who would have ever thought that in the future a phone booth and your keys would both fit into your shirt pocket. Hard to believe, ain’t it? I kind of miss the squeak of the door and how the light would flicker on and off just before it would finally give off its dim fluorescent glow. It wasn’t a whole lot of light, but you could read the names in the phone book with it easily enough. These days ya just reach for your smart phone and turn the flashlight feature on. Oh, phone books? It’s in the smart phone already. Not quite the same nostalgic atmosphere as the old phone booth though.

While being around for decades, the humble key was far more useful than just for starting the car. I’m sure it won’t entirely go away, but for the car, it might be on its last turn of the lock. No more bar fights with a car key as a weapon, no more of the traditional tossing of the keys when your teenager gets their first car, and no more making a spare copy of grandma’s car keys just in case she can’t remember where she put them. All that will soon be history, a last turn of the lock; now just push a button. Throw away the key, because it just won’t be needed anymore. I say, “Long Live the Key”. I know what it’s good for.

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Poignant, have you ever thought about why did we need keys to begin with? More than just to keep our stuff lock away for others... because it points the way to where the new keys will be used to keep out those that don't know better.


For example, your face and your other biometrics are now being used by the Government to keep you in line.


Here are some links to open up the subject, since soon we may need to amend our constitutions to restrict government from using our biometrics as keys.


Facial Recognition Technology- Time to recognize the dangers of unfettered use of your biometrics by Government.




U.S. Senate,
Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law,
Committee on the Judiciary,
Washington, DC.
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:36 p.m., in
Room SD-226, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Al Franken,
Chairman of the Subcommittee, presiding.
Present: Senators Franken, Whitehouse, and Blumenthal.
Also present. Senator Sessions.


Chairman Franken. This hearing will be called to order.
Welcome to the fourth hearing of the Subcommittee on Privacy,
Technology, and the Law. Today's hearing will examine the use
of facial recognition technology by the Government and the
private sector and what that means for privacy and civil
I want to be clear: There is nothing inherently right or
wrong with facial recognition technology. Just like any other
new and powerful technology, it is a tool that can be used for
great good. But if we do not stop and carefully consider the
way we use this technology, it could also be abused in ways
that could threaten basic aspects of our privacy and civil
liberties. I called this hearing so we can just start this
I believe that we have a fundamental right to control our
private information, and biometric information is already among
the most sensitive of our private information, mainly because
it is both unique and permanent. You can change your password.
You can get a new credit card. But you cannot change your
fingerprint, and you cannot change your face--unless, I guess,
you go to a great deal of trouble.
Indeed, the dimensions of our faces are unique to each of
us--just like our fingerprints. And just like fingerprint
analysis, facial recognition technology allows others to
identify you with what is called a ``faceprint''--a unique file
describing your face.
But facial recognition creates acute privacy concerns that
fingerprints do not. Once someone has your fingerprint, they
can dust your house or your surroundings to figure out what you
have touched.
Once someone has your faceprint, they can get your name,
they can find your social networking account, and they can find
and track you in the street, in the stores that you visit, the
Government buildings you enter, and the photos your friends
post online. Your face is a conduit to an incredible amount of
information about you, and facial recognition technology can
allow others to access all of that information from a distance,
without your knowledge, and in about as much time as it takes
to snap a photo.
People think of facial recognition as something out of a
science fiction novel. In reality, facial recognition
technology is in broad use today. If you have a driver's
license, if you have a passport, if you are a member of a
social network, chances are good that you are part of a facial
recognition data base.
There are countless uses of this technology, and many of
them are innovative and quite useful. The State Department uses
facial recognition technology to identify and stop passport
fraud--preventing people from getting multiple passports under
different names. Using facial recognition technology, Sheriff
Larry Amerson of Calhoun County, Alabama, who is with us here
today, can make sure that a prisoner being released from the
Calhoun County jail is actually the same prisoner that is
supposed to be released. That is useful. Similarly, some of the
latest smartphones can be unlocked by the owner by just looking
at the phone and blinking.
But there are uses of this technology that should give us
In 2010, Facebook, the largest social network, began
signing up all of its then 800 million users in a program
called Tag Suggestions. Tag Suggestions made it easier to tag
close friends in photos, and that is a good thing.
But the feature did this by creating a unique faceprint for
every one of those friends. And in doing so, Facebook may have
created the world's largest privately held data base of
faceprints--without the explicit consent of its users. To date,
Tag Suggestions is an opt-out program. Unless you have taken
the time to turn it off, it may have already been used to
generate your faceprint.
Separately, last year, the FBI rolled out a Facial
Recognition Pilot program in Maryland, Michigan, and Hawaii
that will soon expand to three more States. This pilot lets
officers in the field take a photo of someone and compare it to
a Federal data base of criminal mug shots. The pilot can also
help ID a suspect in a photo from an actual crime. Already,
several other States are setting up their own facial
recognition systems independently of the FBI. These efforts
will catch criminals. In fact, they already have.
Now, many of you may be thinking that that is an excellent
thing, and I agree. But unless law enforcement facial
recognition programs are deployed in a very careful manner, I
fear that these gains could eventually come at a high cost to
our civil liberties.
I fear that the FBI pilot could be abused to not only
identify protesters at political events and rallies, but to
target them for selective jailing and prosecution, stifling
their First Amendment rights. Curiously enough, a lot of the
presentations on this technology by the Department of Justice
show it being used on people attending political events or
other public gatherings.
I also fear that without further protections, facial
recognition technology could be used on unsuspecting civilians
innocent of any crime, invading their privacy and exposing them
to potential false identifications....

These are some scary facts on these links:




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boy of boy, that last comment was longer then the story! Gonzo, you really picked a controversial touchy subject this time! One more point you forgot, you won't be able to damage the ignition switch anymore, with (weights)by putting all your keys on one key chain!

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