Thursday, May 28, 2009

Smartgun Fail.

Discussion is ongoing at Unc's joint on the latest Authorized User or "Smart Gun" concept out of Deutschland.

The problem with the whole "Smart Gun" concept is that it is derived from an incorrect view of weapons. If you look at firearms as a type of sporting goods, then there's nothing particularly wrong with Authorized User technology. If it fails or malfunctions, it's no big deal in the grand scheme of things; you miss your duck or deer or clay pigeon or paper bullseye, and your afternoon or weekend is ruined, but hey, that's the price of safety.

But if you look at a firearm as a piece of emergency equipment, then Authorized User technology is a no-go. A cop's partner may need to use her gun; my roommate may need to use mine. It needs to work right the first time, every time. It cannot malfunction or, if it does so, it must "fail-dangerous", in such a way as to leave me the ability to use the gun to defend myself, even if the Authorized User function no longer works.

Look at it this way: Would you put fingerprint recognition sensors on a fire extinguisher? How about a biometric sensor on a reserve parachute? No, you wouldn't, because it needs to be as easy as possible for anybody to operate, even under duress and in harsh environmental conditions.


Jay G said...

Which is the dumber idea:

1. Smart guns; or

2. "ballistic fingerprinting"?

Smart guns have the downsides you mention.

Ballistic fingerprinting has actual real world FAIL behind it (MD)...

TJP said...

Plus its impact on actual safety will be negligible, because very few people understand the safety aspect, and all kinds of sensitive areas of the body will still be covered by the muzzle while a finger is on the switch.

Just like security, safe operation is a process, not a bolt-on product.

Bruce said...

The odds of any such smart gun mandates applying to government employees with badges is equal to the odds of me successfully funding my children's college education by crapping gold ingots.

Mark said...

Sure sounded like it went "click" to me.

And I concur on why User Auth is a bad idea on emergency equipment.

staghounds said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
staghounds said...

Problem is, our disarmers think of guns in four ways:

1. As a piece of sporting equipment for psycho torturers of animals;

2. as an enabler of greater violence for otherwise peaceful people who suddenly desire to kill others, or as traps for innocent toddlers;

3. as a capital punishment device for psycho cops; and


For all those outlooks, restrictive recognition technology makes perfect sense. For #2, something that requires two or seven users to say "fire".

Joseph said...

I put the odds of smartguns working well in the same ballpark as bringing the dead back to life. Sure, it won't stop inventors and scientists from wasting their time or making audacious claims, but it just ain't happening man.

User verification is only useful for banking and blogs.

Joe Huffman said...

Tam, apparently you have had your mind warped by too much exposure to testosterone poisoned American men.

While your analogy to safety equipment is valid your conclusions are not. The, obviously, correct conclusion is to ban fire extinguishers and other safety equipment as well as guns.

You are obviously near the top of the list of those to be sent to the education camps next year.

Mattexian said...

I'm agreeing with Joe H. here; we need to ban possession and use of fire extinguishers, because they only embolden non-professionals to act in an emergency in ways that they aren't trained to do. We should always leave these situations to the professionals!

rickn8or said...

Besides, fire extinguishers cause fires!

illinois vote said...

This reminds me of an incident with my mothers 02 Volkswagen Jetta (C) german engineered.... a few years back. She misplaced her car keys and grabbed the spare set that had been hanging on a keyrack for months. Then proceeded to travel 70 miles to my sisters house for a visit. When she attempted to return home the car wouldn't start. DRT
cliff notes, the car was flatbed towed 70 miles back to the dealer. After examination it was determined the factory antitheft system kicked in and failed to recognize the spare key set and killed the ignition. But only after she used the spare keys to travel an hour AWAY from home. I found the original key-set out in the garden while the car was being inspected at the dealership. The car's brainbox periodically verify's the key-sets to the main ignition chip is what I was told. The spare keys must be used regularly or this may happen again.

They wanted to hit her up for $300+ to hook up the computer and reprogram the ignition and keysets to Germany. I asked how much if the factory system could be removed? As allowing a "stolen car " a "free trip one way somewhere" was pretty much useless to me. You should have seen the expression of the service manager! He stated VW's antitheft system was a high rated selling point of their cars, quite proud of it in fact.

Luckily the extended warrantee took care of the costs.

Smart gun ? Smart car? What's the difference? It's not fail safe.