To withdraw cash, please authenticate yourself at the dachshund

To withdraw cash, please authenticate yourself at the dachshund

Forget cards, PINs, fingerprints and mobile phones. In the world of artist and designer Soomi Park, anyone wanting to withdraw cash will have to present their genitals at the ATM for an enclosed dachshund to perform an authenticating sniff.

Park's The Republic of Privacy project, currently exhibiting at the Biennale Internationale Design in France, takes on the debate about the mass collection of personal data by governments and corporations by imagining a place designed to ensure privacy.

So that citizens of her republic do not have to share their data with banks, dogs replace cards and PINs at the ATM, using their rigorous sense of smell and the aid of specialist sniffer masks to authenticate customers.

To make a withdrawal, a citizen undoes a flap in their specially tailored clothing, exposing their lower body to the machine, with a tube system bringing the scent to the dog's mask. The dog then compares the scent to those stored in a database until it finds a match and the customer can access their cash.

Says the republic's Public Funds Agency: "Dogs have been used in a professional context for many years, most infamously by the East German Stasi Police, who had scent samples and used dogs to target and track people using scent. While this was a complete invasion of privacy, we use the same technique to respect and protect individual privacy."

Park told the Guardian that "it’s private, because a dog can’t talk," although she admits that there is a paradox because the dog sniffing is an invasion of privacy in itself. "It’s not supposed to make sense at the first glance, but I want to believe that it could provoke a debate."

While dogs in ATMs may be a first, UK charity Canine Partners has trained mutts to use cash machines for their disabled owners.

Comments: (4)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 10 April, 2015, 17:07Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

April1 was over a week ago....

Russell Bell
Russell Bell - Fastbase Ltd - Wellington 13 April, 2015, 06:061 like 1 like

Using a real dog makes this a Rube Goldberg machine.  Maybe an electronic nose could do the job, and wouldn't want feeding.  But even a perfect e-nose would suffer from the same problems as other biometrics; a thief could steal a sample of your body odour, and if you suspect that's happened (after a honey-trap episode ?) you can't change your own essential fragrance.

A real dog would have one important advantage; imagine the deterrance value if the dog were trained to bite firmly into the genitals of a suspected fraudster.

Sarah Rutherford
Sarah Rutherford - Experian - Rugby 13 April, 2015, 09:59Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I love this - it's very funny, but I'm not even sure how it would help with the privacy issue. The dog's nose would have to authenticate against data held on the individual, the smell in itself alone doesn't tell you that a person is who they are claiming to be - just that they have a smell - all be it their own special smell. In order to authenticate them their smell would have to be recorded alongside their other data - so collecting more personal data - I think one's unique perfume might be considered quite personal :-) Anyway a great way to get people talking about the issue which was after all the aim!

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 13 April, 2015, 12:091 like 1 like

@RussellB: I was struck with the same thought of a Dachshund's fraud deterrence potential when I was midway thru' the article. You bit - ahem, took - the words out of my mouth! The process should be capable of zero scope for False Positives, which makes it a challenge though!!