At DEFCON 2013 in Las Vegas there was a bit of a kerfuffle when a presenter pointed out, er, some vulnerabilities in a card-driven door locking system often used in hotels. It came out that certain Las Vegas hotels owned by a well know entrepreneur (is that vague enough, Steve?) were apparently using this very system, so a lot of hotel door locks might not be all that secure.
Now, we have word that a Chinese company has been selling infra-red contact lenses for around $3,000 US. They allow the wearer to see otherwise invisible markings on a marked deck of cards. An Italian card shark named Stefano Ampollini was caught doing this at a casino in Cannes, and wound up being fined $100,000 (about what he won) and sentenced to two years in jail.
In my new book,Technocreep (www.orbooks.com/technocreep) I discuss the merging of technology and the human body, citing, for example, contact lenses that can sense glucose levels and help diabetics. That’s obviously a great use, but the nefarious applications of technologies like this seem to be coming at us even faster.
There are whole companies in China dedicated to selling Americans (and Russian and Indians) the “tools of the cheatin’ trade” ranging from marked cards to remote control dice. One vendor (OK, it’s www.salesmarkedcards.com, you could find it in a flash anyways) even has a device than can read you the entire 52 card deck through a hidden earpiece, thereby greatly upping your odds of winning in a friendly poker game (where you bring the cards) and getting into serious trouble in a casino. (where they know all about this stuff)
Their website has no prices…you leave a message and they get back to you with a quote. And they take payment via Western Union.. (Shame on you, WU – your founders, including Ezra Cornell must be rolling in their graves to see what you’ve become.)
Just give these industrious cheat-makers a bit of time and they’ll be selling you implantable versions of their technology along with the surgical tools to install it in your body. And the casinos will make you walk through scanners. After all, they caught the guy with the contact lenses, though it turns out it was by good old behavioral analysis – he was folding with some pretty good hands which tipped the casino off that he knew that the dealer had even better cards!