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
    Anonymous of Course, 18 Jul 2008 @ 7:39am

    Before the Internet...

    There were books, you could find them in libraries.
    Books like In The Steal Of The Night which is about
    auto repossession and lock picking.

    Some people thought this was dangerous and fussed
    about it. Others worried that it would harm their
    guild. It did neither and I suspect the internet will
    have much the same effect, very little. I realize
    that the internet is easier than going to a library.
    So the impact may be marginally greater.

    Even so most people who enjoy lock picking as a hobby
    have no interest in committing a crime. I've never
    liked crossword or jigsaw puzzles but mechanisms
    fascinate me. Locks are generally small and not too
    difficult to solve, so I like locks.

    Very often, and criminals know this, the door jams are
    a weaker point than even a lousy lock. They'll just
    pry between the door and jam then the door pops open,
    knock the door off the hinges, or use a big slip joint
    pliers on the lockset.

    I can't recall hearing of a burglary or home invasion
    where the lock was picked. It's something I'd expect
    coupled with surveillance activities. So the "criminals"
    who are most likely to pick the lock already have acess
    to the information.

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