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Key "copied" indicator

So you know a key has been copied
  (+4, -2)
(+4, -2)
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Copyable keys should have a small area of the grip part set aside, perhaps labeled "Duplicate: [ ]". In this area, a notch would be made by the person making the copy. (...a notch or an X or some other identifiable mark that would not be confused with a normal scratch.) Their equipment would be so designed to create this mark.

Thus the owner of the original key would know a copy was made. There would only need be one such notch/mark, as the ne-er-do-well could use the duplicate for further copies if they needed them.

This would also need to be backed up by some sort of law enforcing the keymaker to create the notch/mark.

(If something like this exists, I've not heard of it, and these are tough search words to find online.)

waugsqueke, Aug 18 2003

Matt Blaze on lock / master-key vulnerabilities http://www.mail-arc...s.com/msg03453.html
Not specific to this discussion but related and interesting. [bristolz, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       When I was a student living in halls, our room keys were these wierd non-standard cross-section. Supposedly, no key cutter for miles would touch them, because they were recognised as "Do not copy".
friendlyfire, Aug 18 2003

       Yeah, I'm going to have to say I like the "do not copy" marking a bit better. Does it really help to know that someone's copied your key? Now you have to change your locks. Seems that not being able to copy a key in the first place is more useful.
Worldgineer, Aug 18 2003

       I like New York. You can get any key copied, even the "do not copy" types.   

       (After all, it's easy enough to change the locks after you change baby sitters or housekeepers.)
DrCurry, Aug 18 2003

       Worldgineer, this is not for "do-not-copy" style keys. The first two words in the idea are "copyable keys". If you don't expect to ever need to copy the key, get 'do-not-copy" style keys. This idea is for keys that one might reasonably expect to need duplicates at some point, but just want to know if one has been surreptitiously made.   

       In your objection, World, you hit precisely on the point of the idea - knowing your key was copied, you would then know to have the lock changed. Otherwise you would not know and someone would have a key to your lock.   

       DrC, NY lawlessness notwithstanding, this idea would function fine in places that abide the law. It's less expensive not to have to get a new lock if you know you don't need one.
waugsqueke, Aug 18 2003

       // this idea would work in places that abide the law //   

       Which unfortunately is basically nowhere I fear..
DeathNinja, Aug 18 2003

       Well you know, I don't think that's a fair argument against the idea. "No-one abides the law" is kind of steering away from the point. Perhaps I'm being idealistic but I do believe there are places where laws are followed. For the sake of argument, let's extend to my idea the same luxury other ideas get and presume that laws are obeyed.   

       It's really odd sometimes the strange paths people follow to find fault with an idea. I don't think any of the objections presented thus far are valid, or at least not presented in a way that gets the validity across. The possible exception might be rave's, but there again, 'people will still break the law anyway' is not a valid argument against making laws.
waugsqueke, Aug 18 2003

       I'm still trying to think up a situation that would need this. I really don't want to have to wait for the locksmith because I know someone has a copy of my key. I'd much rather have a "do not copy" key for when I need to hand it out to someone.
Worldgineer, Aug 18 2003

       It appears you're envisioning a different situation than the idea is intended for, and are unable to see beyond that. Your 'do-not-copy' key works in situations when a copy is _never_ to be made. Clearly that is not what the idea is about, and I think it's done a lot to get this idea started down the wrong path.
waugsqueke, Aug 18 2003

       I do apologize for that, it was definitely not my intent (feel free to kill any of my previous annos). Let me start over with a basic question. What scenarios are you envisioning for this solution?
Worldgineer, Aug 18 2003

       Take your house key, for example. (Presuming you don't also have a security system for the moment...) Making copies of this key is something you're likely to do at some point, for other members of the family, for example. So a 'do-not-copy' key won't suffice in this circumstance.   

       At your work, a new temp employee miscreant sees your address on your business card, and knows you will be on vacation next week. He/she lifts your keys while you're in a meeting, scoots out at lunch and gets a copy made. You come home from vacation and your place is looted.   

       With this system, you'd know your key was copied and would change your locks before you left.   

       DN, perhaps there should be space for future marks as well.
waugsqueke, Aug 18 2003

       Once one copy is made and the key is marked, how can you tell if future copies have been made?
DeathNinja, Aug 18 2003

       [DN], [waugs] has already made the point that this doesn't matter - one copy is as bad as a thousand.   

       However, this does bring up a point. What's to stop the miscreant from making a copy of your key and bringing back the copy - the one that doen't have an x in the box?
Worldgineer, Aug 18 2003

       Ok, I think I've solved my own issue (please speak up if there's a more elegant method I'm missing). The key (hehe) issue is having a unique code for your key that will let you know it's your key and not a copy of your key. But if we use something like a number code, who's going to ever even look at it, let alone remember your original key number?   

       Have you seen those keys with pictures on them? I've seen anything from plain colors to the american flag. Now, if you create keys with random color patterns you could be sure your key is your key and not a copy of your key that your coworker has replaced yours with. You'd notice that "hey, my key was mostly yellow and kind of looked like the early Michel Jackson. This one's more green and looks like an old bologna sandwich." Of course, if they make a copy of your key and give you your key back you'll notice it has a big X in the box.
Worldgineer, Aug 18 2003

       The solution I settled on is a creation date stamp for duplicate keys, placed there by the key copy machine.   

       I saw those painted keys just today, in fact (when I was browsing around waiting for my copy to be made).
waugsqueke, Aug 18 2003

       //date stamp// I don't love it. I bet weeks would go by before I noticed the date was different.
Worldgineer, Aug 18 2003

       No more so than if the key ID "unique code" was different. And if your regular key was original to the lock, it wouldn't have a date on it at all, so the very presence of a date would be your indicator.
waugsqueke, Aug 18 2003

       I'm going to go against this one, simply because there are so many places where a pretty young thing could walk into and say, "Can you not put the mark on, please -- it's the key to my boyfriend's flat and it's the second one I've lost," that I think this device would, rather than safeguard your property, simply give you a false sense of security.   

       In a utopia the idea is sound but unnecessary. In the real world this might wrongly put your fears to rest.
st3f, Aug 18 2003

       The key copy machine could be designed to do it automatically, so the operator would have no option. In any case, it's a variation of the 'people will still break the law' argument, and I've already dismissed those.   

       Man, this is the toughest audience I've had to face in a long time.
waugsqueke, Aug 18 2003

       Maybe there are two distinct types of blanks, original blanks and copy blanks. When an original is copied, two copies are made and the original is destroyed. The original blanks are serial number matched to, and only distributed with, a new lockset.   

       Of course, this suffers the same weakness that only the force of a law compels the lock services folks to destroy the original.
bristolz, Aug 18 2003

       Anyone with access to a key, a key blank, and a file can make a duplicate key without any alteration whatsoever to the original key. Key copiers are much faster and more convenient, but key duplication is hardly rocket science.
supercat, Aug 18 2003

       //changes color on copying and gradually (over the course of a month, say) returns to its original shade//   

       How about a color dye similar to glass vial shock sensors for shipping boxes? Key machines must induce plenty of vibrations. So have a view port in the key and liquids that emulsify. The color is restored over time, as the liquids separate again.   

       If not vibrations, have a mechanism inside the key that indicates it's been clamped in place in a key copier.
Amos Kito, Aug 19 2003

       perhaps some sort of embedded sim card into the key along with some cypher software would be cheapish. providing basic mechanical + strong electronic software protection - as long as the lock isn't running MS software
wobbly, Aug 19 2003

       [wobbly] has wobbled toward a very baked concept that seems to fit this idea nicely. Most modern car keys have a little chip in them that respond to your car's computer to let it know it's an authentic key. Why not have these for houses? Lock companies can have a numeric code sent with each lock that allows you to get the correct key made. Without this number, even a correctly notched key will not open your lock since it doesn't have a chip with the right code.
Worldgineer, Aug 19 2003

       //How about a color dye similar to glass vial shock sensors for shipping boxes? Key machines must induce plenty of vibrations. So have a view port in the key and liquids that emulsify. The color is restored over time, as the liquids separate again.//   

       As noted, it's not difficult to produce a copy of a key without using a key copier. Key copiers are used because they are convenient, but any reasonably competant person with access to a suitable blank can make a key from another using only a file. If the original key can't be held long enough to file a copy, there are plenty of ways to 'capture' the groove pattern to copy it later.
supercat, Aug 19 2003

       Granted, this would not prevent the determined rapscallion from snagging a duplicate of your key. However I believe it would be enough of a barricade to many a casual copier. I think most people don't know how to make a copy of a key without having someone do it for them.
waugsqueke, Aug 19 2003

       <Worldgineer> i meant something simliar to a phone sim card inside the key that makes physical contact, but car rf key would work-   

       in fact an infrared sensor on the lock that you can transmitt something via your mobile phone (infrared port) would be even cheaper
wobbly, Aug 20 2003

       Modify the very tip of the key. Its only function is to lift the pins. It can be slightly different without affecting the its ability to open the lock Make the original key slightly different there. For example, if tip is clear, light can pass through. Any duplicate will block light.   

       Then Design a lock that can sense and report the difference.   

       Or design a lock that can sense the difference and refuse to operate.
popbottle, Feb 12 2017

       Unfortunately, virtually any key can be copied without special equipment, using a piece of thin steel sheet and a Dremel - if you have the original, or a clay impression of same. It won't be very durable, but it will work.   

       A lock which can sense a "copy" key would be more expensive, and wouldn't necessarily deliver greater security.
8th of 7, Feb 12 2017


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