We've got more odds and ends on the blog today:
Criminal Footwear: British authorities are launching a "Footwear Intelligence Tool" next month, with photos of thousands of images that can be matched against suspects' shoe types, according to press reports out of London. Reuters notes the database is "thought to be the first of its kind in the world." That comes as a surprise to staffers at the FBI Laboratory, which since the early 1990s has run its own Shoe Print Reference Database. The FBI files include close to 10,000 different shoe sole design images, taken from footwear manufacturers' photos and the Internet. The database figured most famously during the O.J. Simpson trial, in which prosecutors sought to tie Simpson to the size 12 Bruno Magli shoes that left bloody footprints where Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were found dead.
Transmitters in Tires and Shoes: In his Crypto-Gram newsletter, security expert Bruce Schneier has a worrisome item about how automobile tires and even running shoes are being outfitted with RFID transmitters. The devices are designed to monitor such mundane things as air pressure and distance run, but they also potentially allow others to track vehicles and even joggers. "The people who are designing these systems are putting zero thought into security and privacy issues," writes Schneier. "Unless we enact some sort of broad law requiring companies to add security into these sorts of systems, companies will continue to produce devices that erode our privacy through new technologies."
Shoplifted Meat: Also worth checking out is Brendan Koerner's amusing piece in Slate, "The Purloined Sirloin," on how Americans shoplift more meat than any other supermarket product. Turns out we Yanks rip off millions of pounds of beef, pork, and veal from supermarket shelves every year. Not far behind on the theft list: painkillers, razor blades, and baby formula.