Locksmiths Pissed Off At Geeks For Letting Out The Secret: Lockpicking Is Easy

from the without-the-internet,-we'd-all-be-safe dept

As I've mentioned before, back in high school, I had an art teacher who taught me both how to pick locks and how to make lockpicks (it was a fun class). Since then I've always been fascinated by the whole process of picking locks, though I haven't kept up with the field or even picked a lock in years. However, there is a huge community of folks online -- many coming from the tech/hacker community -- who spend a lot of time exploring lockpicking, and talking about it in great detail online. And, as Gizmodo notes, this is pissing off some locksmiths. What's not stated overtly is the obvious reason, and it's the same for any professional system that requires "certification." It's rarely about making sure people are good enough, but has everything to do with limiting the competition to keep fees high. The locksmiths aren't really so worried about criminals learning how to pick locks online (even though some claim that). They're worried that people won't need to call locksmiths anymore when they get locked out of their homes. On top of that, the lock companies hate to admit that their locks are pickable (they are), and so they hit back at those who prove it, just as software companies hate to admit that their software has vulnerabilities. Over time, perhaps locksmiths and lock companies will recognize that an enthusiastic hobby community that helps make sure locks are more secure can only be a good thing.

Filed Under: geeks, hacking, lockpicking, locksmiths


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  1. identicon
    ChickinSammich, 10 Oct 2012 @ 2:49pm

    From a locksmith's perspective...

    My father has been a professional locksmith for the past 30 years of his life, and has been a board member for various national locksmith associations. Here's his take:

    He doesn't care if you want to pick your own locks or jimmy your own cars. He doesn't even do residential work any more because there's no money in it (he mostly does commercial/industrial/government and works primarily on large master keying and safe installation/openings).

    However, he strongly supports certifications (and has proctored and graded certification exams), not because "locksmiths want to keep fees up", but because FAKE "locksmiths" will try to quote you one price on the phone, come out to your house, DRILL your lock when it doesn't need drilling, then re-quote you a price of about a couple hundred dollars to install a new lock that they bought from Home Depot for 15 bucks.

    The locksmiths who make their bread and butter on commercial work ARE struggling, and some of them have raised prices to compensate. But the certifications are not there to raise prices, they're there to keep give scammers who work out of their trunk and use bait-and-switch pricing from screwing customers over.

    If you can pick your own locks or open your own cars, that's admirable and most locksmiths don't have a problem with that at all.

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