Laugh, cry, or scream?

Right now, even as I type, I am listening to a report on Public radio that seems to suggest the gov't has fallen for a classic internet HOAX! They are discussing, with great concern and angst, an alleged Google software that will read your impressions of how you hit the keyboard so that you can be identified online even if you are anonymous. (They might be saying "google" as a generic verb, not as the software purveyor.)

"Typing pattern analysis". Way back when I first got online, ten years ago, there were all kinds of hoaxes afoot because the internet was still the wild west, outlaw-land.

I distinctly remember one board exchange among marketers about hoax products and they were laughing over how much money one of them made off the "keyboard detective" that allegedly could identify users by key-stroke. The software was fake and was being sold to worried users. One of the reasons such software could not possibly work is that you can control the impact and speed of your key-strokes by the device you are using, which can vary pressure and speed.

Someone in the government has paid money for this old trick,* ten years later! *And not because it has developed into a real product, now the same report (as I type) has moved into another level of interview, with a technologist explaining that such patterns are essentially meaningless because they cannot be reliably identified but they are moving on to other, more reliable, methods of knowing who the anonymous internet communicators are.

sigh...

Oh, please let me send you an email letter for my uncle in Nigeria who has stashed a million dollars in an account and he says he will split it with you if you send him your bank account information.....

The government isn't falling for hoaxes, it just exploits the public that is. On a related note, that was sure a hot winter, wasn't it?

And the answer is: pray. ;)

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