Monday, September 9, 2019

"Public Safety" means anyone can get the key to your business

The problem with many (perhaps most) laws is that the people who write them cannot think through all the consequences of their law/regulation.  As a result, the world is awash with examples where a law had exactly the opposite result of what was intended.  A great example of this is the Superfund law.  It made all parties to a polluted site individually responsible for 100% of the cleanup, even if they were actually only the cause of a trivial amount of the pollution.  This made each Superfund case essentially a death sentence to all companies involved, and so the strategy has been to stonewall each case as much as possible.  This has led to a lot of Superfund sites remaining polluted, which was precisely the opposite of what the original intent was.

Another example is how towns sometimes mandate that businesses have a box containing a key to their building.  The fire department has a master key that opens all the boxes, and they can use the key in the box to get into the business to put the fire out.  No need to break down the door, just unlock it.  Simple, right?

Well, not so fast.  It seems that all these boxes have the same master key (world-wide, not just in the town) and it's possible to 3D print this key if you have one of the boxes.  Like, if the company sells you one.


Don't try this at home, kids.



Aesop said...

So, over the years, I have dozens of keys, the locks to which I have no recollection.
So, put one of your own dead keys in the box, and forget about it.

The fire department's "keys", include axes, ladders, halligan tools, cutting saws, and 4' of pipe and a 3' pipe wrench, and as a result, pretty much anything they need to get into, they can, in about 2 minutes, with or without keys.

(Much like the po-po, who will get into your house, if they want to badly enough...)

Problem solved.

When the fire department leaves me the keys to the fire station, I'll leave them the keys to the business. Not before.

Welamands said...

If I remember correctly Deviant Ollam did a similar presentation some years ago. I tend to like his presentations; Pit to the Penthouse, This Key Is Your Key This Key is My Key and I'll Let Myself In.

libertyman said...

At the urging of the fire department I put one of those boxes on my building, thinking that they would not have to resort to smashing windows and doors to get in.

Those little boxes are very very expensive, by the way.

You see them in many businesses once you know what they are. I had all the rental units keyed to one master key to boot.

Who knew they were so readily compromised?

Peter B said...

At least it's seven pins, so it's like 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

Borepatch said...

Peter B, the Internets you just won are available for pickup at the Castle Borepatch drawbridge. Use the usual password.

Divemedic said...

Those systems are there so firefighters like me don't have to cause thousands of dollars in damages cutting through all of your high security doors. The odds of that are higher than the odds of someone stealing a Knox Key.

DaveS said...

We're really good at opening up doors if we don't have a key. And our focus is on getting into the building quickly. We practice this stuff - and we're good at it. A Knox Box is a wise decision. Just sayin'.

McChuck said...

If one key opens all your high security doors, you're misunderstanding the meaning of the term.

Aesop said...

If there's not already thousands of dollars of damage ongoing, you have no need to be accessing my business from outside.

If there is, the holes you'll cut for ventilation and the windows you'll break out will provide all the access you need, and it's all covered by insurance.

But what won't be covered by the burglary insurance is putting some half-assed lockbox on the outside that can be readily compromised. The legal term for that is "attractive nuisance".

I know the guys at the station house have no problem punching the windows out of a Beamer when it's parked in front of the hydrant (exactly as they should), so having to kick in or chop through a door should be a good workout for the 5 calls out of a 100 that are actual structure fires, versus medical complaints.

If you can get a little old lady out of crumpled beer can that used to be a Prius, you don't need a key to open my door.

Not least of which because, sure as shooting, some day, some overzealous badged jackbooted asshole will call in a fake fire report, wait for you guys to open up, and then waltz in behind you without a warrant to "help" you with a "safety inspection".

My answer to that ends with "...sideways, with a rusty chainsaw."

If flames are not leaping from the upper windows, water gushing out under the door, or a pert-breasted maiden shrieking for help from the battlements, you don't have "exigent circumstances".

Learn to deal with that, and if fishing expeditions still appeal to you, try it at the local body of water with a pole and line, rather than trolling businesses.

No hard feelings.
Just saying.

HMS Defiant said...

I read the demise of w r grace because they bought a company many years ago that was part of the asbestos gang rape. it was the saddest one to see driven under but many others were as well.