Mar 152010
 
 March 15, 2010  Featured News, Surveillance

Thomas Claburn reports that now our bacteria can compromise our privacy:

Scientists at the University of Colorado at Boulder have found that the bacteria trail left behind on objects like computer keyboards and mice can analyzed and used to help identify users of those devices.

“Your body is coated with bacteria inside and out,” says CU-Boulder assistant professor Noah Fierer in a video on YouTube. “You’re basically a walking microbial habitat. And we found that the diversity of bacteria just on the skin surface is really pretty incredible. You harbor hundreds of different bacteria species just on your palm, for example. We’ve also found that everybody is pretty unique. So of those let’s say hundred or so bacteria species, very few are of them are shared between individuals.”

What Fierer and his colleagues have demonstrated in a new study is that the distinctive combination of bacteria each of us carries and distributes can be used to help identify what we’ve touched.

Such work may one day help link individuals to malicious computer use or other crimes.

Read more on InformationWeek.

(For directions on knitting the bacteria in the featured photo, click here.)

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