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
    SaveMyIndustry, 18 Jul 2008 @ 11:09am

    It's all about the know how.

    A luxury cruise ship was stranded off the coast, they had been sitting dead in the water for 2 days trying to repair the engines with no luck. Anxious to keep the passengers happy they decided to hire a specialist and fly him out to the ship via helicopeter to get the engines fixed and get the ship moving again.

    The specialist arrived and went to work, while the Captain and the ship mechanics watched and waited in anticipation. He removed what appeared to be a stethoscope from his bag and started placing it on the engine and listening as he rapped on the side with his knuckle. After about 10 minutes of this, he said, "Ahh Ha", removed a ballpeen hammer from his bag and tapped the engine twice quickly in the spot he had marked with his knuckle. The engines, which had been on, but not turning or doing anything, immediately sprang back to life and started running.

    The Captain was ecstatic, until the specialist demanded his payment of $50,000. The Captain said I can't justify paying you $50,000 for 20 minutes of work without an itemized billing, besides all you did was tap the engine with a hammer, anyone could have done that.

    The specialist presented his bill and received his full payment:
    Cruise Ship Engine Repair:
    $10.00 - Tapping Engine with Hammer
    $49990.00 - Knowing where to Tap the Engine

    Knowledge is valuable, and some people feel that restricting knowledge increases it's value, when in reality it only increases an individuals ability to monetize that specific knowledge. As the above 'story' illustrates, if everyone shared the same knowledge pool, there would be no need for a specialist, just as if everyone knew how to pick locks, there would be little need for locksmiths (there will always be some need, I know how to change the oil in my car, but I'd still rather pay $20 and have someone at 'Jiffy Lube' do it for me).

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