A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Peace Protest

Okay, it’s recent-study time again. Some Japanese scientists from the National Institute of Informatics (NII) are claiming that flashing the two-finger peace sign in a selfie could be dangerous. The premise is that the “evil ones” on the web can extract the persons’ fingerprints from the selfie and do incredibly nasty things with them.

The possibilities are endless. For example, one could use someone else’s fingerprints to acquire a Department of Consumer Affairs license to do stereo and VCR repairs. We’ll get to some solutions in a bit, or when you get tired of reading this and want to skip to the end.

The Problem

The Japanese scientists allege that flashing a peace sign in selfies could lead to identity theft. Researchers from the National Institute of Informatics (NII) claim criminals can extract fingerprints from a high-resolution photograph of someone flashing a peace sign and use that data to recreate the prints. The reproductions can then be used to access data protected by biometric-authentication.


One possible solution, the NII is developing a transparent film that could be worn on fingertips to hide prints without interfering with biometric scanners. The film will not be available for a couple of years.

You can’t get selfie takers to stop photographing themselves in all sorts of compromising positions, good luck getting them to wear protective film on their fingers. Here is one practical solution: reverse the peace sign so that only the top of the fingers (the fingernails) are exposed. This solution, however, is not without risks as well, such as:

  • People might think you were ordering two hotdogs, in which case someone will do a study on the dangers of eating ‘two’ many hotdogs.
  • People might think you are conversing with someone who does not speak your native language and you are trying to convey the concept of ‘two’, in which case someone will do a study on the correct use of fingers when speaking a foreign language.
  • People might think you are about to pick your nose, two nostrils simultaneously, in which case someone will do a study on the potential dangers of said pickings.
  • People might think you are flipping them off twice, in which case a bad case of road rage may ensue.

There are of course two very effective solutions. The first is, don’t go around flashing peace signs. The 1960s are gone, get over it.

Last, just stop taking selfies. One must eventually realize that the only person who really wants to see one’s selfie is one's self. And one is a lonely number. ~MD

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