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gtd

EIDs

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Just thinking the other day about some of the recent threads on maestronet.

Could electronic id tags, such as those used in dogs, be adapted to securely identify a violin to its maker? Can they be faked or is there some way to encrypt it?

Anyone have knowledge or experience with alternatives to paper labels or signing every piece of wood with ink?

Maybe not a great idea but a thought anyways........

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Hi gtd - I had my new puppy chipped and ended up wondering how the technology worked and how well it could be read if we inserted it into one of the blocks.

Now we have two minds thinking...

Of course if it was a viola would an IED be more appropriate?

cheers edi

Oh - a pic of the puppy. Mmm - trouble with uploading the pic. Maybe Jan 1 hassles - will try again some other time. edi

 

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I have a Gräbner cello. It has no label at all but is branded on the inside “KHGräbner“

It ALSO has the same brand on the top block, only visible through the end hole, or if the top is removed.

A custom brand that is used by one maker for all his instruments is difficult to fake( though nothing is impossible if the stakes are high enough) but as far as I’m concerned, the Grabner is completely legit.

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Ever seen fake Pollastri violins? The Pollastri family had a unique brand that they used on their instruments. There are lots of German violins our there with a fake brand that looks identical.

It’s always worth considering that the brand could be faked, just like the label. It doesn’t cost that much to have one made. Not trying to claim that means there is any question about the Grabner cello. My point is just that the people who intend to deceive will go to great lengths. 

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Michael Vann microchips his bows (see https://www.michaelvann.com/the-mircochip-advantage.html).

You could use public key cryptography to add security. This would effectively eliminate the chance that the chip is faked (at least with today's technology). Perhaps you could re-purpose a Yukikey to do this over NFC. Though, I'd be worried about the long-term usability of any electronic protocol. NFC is supported on just about every cell phone today, but will it be around in 20 years, or 50?

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did some quick googling...

looks like it's good enough for the pharmaceutical companies to put eid's on pill bottle labels.

Below it looks it'll get even more secure just in case somebody gets a hold of a bottle.

https://www.rfidjournal.com/articles/view?13860

I suppose the chip could be removed be removed by a ninny willing to devalue an real instrument to insert into their possibly easily recognized fake.

hmmm....

 

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52 minutes ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

Ever seen fake Pollastri violins? The Pollastri family had a unique brand that they used on their instruments. There are lots of German violins our there with a fake brand that looks identical.

It’s always worth considering that the brand could be faked, just like the label. It doesn’t cost that much to have one made. Not trying to claim that means there is any question about the Grabner cello. My point is just that the people who intend to deceive will go to great lengths. 

Yes, that is completely possible. However if there is not such a brand, it’s pretty definite that it would not be by that maker, So that’s at least a 50% solution.

Also, the cello I mentioned is Probably saved because the maker who made it, although well-known and well thought of, probably wasn’t famous enough to stimulate any interest in faking his work.

Edited by PhilipKT
Typo

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You wouldn't need to remove one from an instrument; just duplicate what it does "given sufficient incentive".  Can't think of anything, at least using a scanner out in the field.   One unique thing that there would never be sufficient incentive to copy is just the grain recorded in a photo.

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Now that's an interesting idea.  Sometime in the future just scan for the maker's DNA.  If it's a good violin, then use the scan data to virtually clone him and download CNC data from the virtual maker so he can make you a personal violin.  By that era though you should be able to time travel and just commission one.  Don't know what kind of waiting list Antonio del Gesu had, but if you survive the time in 17th century your machine should be able to return you to just a second after you left.  So you won't be late for work in the morning.

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9 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

 One unique thing that there would never be sufficient incentive to copy is just the grain recorded in a photo.

One can come pretty darned close... maybe not close enough to pass a dendro analysis comparison of both complete tops, but how many people will undertake that?

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1 minute ago, David Burgess said:

One can come pretty darned close... maybe not close enough to pass a dendro analysis comparison of both complete tops, but how many people will undertake that?

Dude.  What are you doing awake?  You have violins to make. 

Think microphotography, then.    No way that structure could be duplicated.

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A possibility, using dendro.  You could record all your wood by region and year.  A copier would then have to obtain that exact wood somehow.  Nah.  Holes in that.

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18 hours ago, David Burgess said:

As far as I have been able to determine, chips can be easily faked, given sufficient incentive.

RFID chips can be pretty hard to fake and would be a lot safer than the usual certificate / or a good supplement. The problem is that because of the fast developing technology nobody could provide a RFID "safety" for a given chip for more than a few years. Since violins are supposed to survive a bit longer than that, I don't see any sense in coupling violins with electronic ID devices.

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14 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Working when I'm asleep hasn't turned out that well... ;)

Sorry, I didn't mean that the way it sounded.  I don't have the wit to think that up on purpose :)

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I have thought about this for a while.  Some random thoughts: 1) As a possible aside, NFC is irrelevant: it is a communication protocol, not a cryptographic protocol. (It's also not terribly secure, which is why we want the information encrypted)

2) Any kind of chip could be removed, and placed in another instrument.  I was at a CES a few years ago, and talked to someone from ...? Philips? who was co-exhibiting with someone who was demonstrating a new way to prevent painting fakery.  What they did with the electronic chip was to include an electronic representation of the painter's DNA, which was recorded, with the painting, to a centralized database.  So IIRC, one would check the registry as well as the chip, which was set up something like public key cryptography.  Of course, a photographic representation of the painting formed one part of the unique key. Only the public key is given in the chip.  The private key is retained by the maker, or perhaps the registry.  In the case of the painting, there was also one color chosen that had the makers' DNA included, so if push came to shove, a tiny piece of that color could be analyzed.  With violins, one could do the samething: an abstract of a high resolution photo forms one part of the key.  This "abstract" is much the same way Apple uses face ID and converts it to a bunch of points forming a unique pattern.

3) If the chip is properly encrypted, it should be very hard to gain the keys to copy everything on the chip. 4) That doesn't stop someone from removing the chip and placing it elsewhere, but then the DNA from the instrument wouldn't match.  The registry comparison would also fail, because a picture of the instrument plus the read key from the chip wouldn't match the stored value in the database. And the real instrument now doesn't have a chip. This system was somewhat pricey - IIRC again, ~$6 -800 for basic program, double that for deluxe, and a service fee for registry comparison.

5) There was someone at NAMM two years ago who claimed they had a RFID like chip, that wasn't RFID, and had a longer range than the chips like TrackR or Tile...He was super secretive, and to me, his claims made no sense.  He would only divulge to investors.  The product was expensive (~$200.) but if it actually did everything he asid, it would be cheap.  Oh, and no batteries!? It would uniquely identify a violin, and a maker could include it in the corpus rather than an easily swapped  chin rest, say. 

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I think blockchain (the technology behind bitcoin) solves this pretty well. It enables shared maintenance of a tamperproof archive of digital data. You could encode some photos of the instrument, in which its unique features would serve as a fingerprint, plus whatever other documentation the maker desired. Then the label in the instrument would just serve as a pointer to the blockchain entry. It could be an RFID or QR code, or something simpler. Faking the label wouldn't do any good; you'd have to fake everything, right down to the wood grain.

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You guys are missing some important stuff.  Ultimately bitcoin is secure simply because of a password.  You distribute that password so the violin chip can be read in the field and you can fake a chip.  You keep the password secret, and you might as well just simply have a nice low tech  pic of the top on file with the maker.

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Bitcoin isn't secured by any single password. There are lots of public-private key pairs, but I think those are really only needed to secure money. If the whole chain is serving as a public archive, then you just need to ensure that entries can't be changed. That's handled by the fact that later entries encrypt earlier entries, and by the existence of distributed copies of the chain.

Much simpler systems could also be used. Any individual maker could maintain an archive of instrument data and publish it in some controlled fashion. Or, a trusted entity could maintain a secure database as a service to its members. Google "do you need a blockchain flowchart" for lots of alternatives.

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4 hours ago, Tom Fid said:

Bitcoin isn't secured by any single password.

Sure it is.  It's the wallet we're talking about.  The endpoint.  The problem is what I said above.  It comes down to you can make (forge) a chip to give any response you want to a scan.  When the strategy inevitably resorts to a "trusted entity" it would make much more sense for the entity to just have the free built-in fingerprint of every instrument; its photo.

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28 minutes ago, Bill Merkel said:

Sure it is.  It's the wallet we're talking about.  The endpoint.  The problem is what I said above.  It comes down to you can make (forge) a chip to give any response you want to a scan.  When your strategy resorts to a "trusted entity" it would make much more sense for him to have the free built-in fingerprint of every instrument.  Its photo.

I'd rather make, than maintain an ever-expanding data base.

Since my instruments are not attempted copies of something else, it seems that most experts and major dealers can reliably identify them.

I don't know how that will go, down the road, for the copyists and antiquers.

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The password in digital currencies secures the individual user's resources against theft. It has nothing to do with the integrity of the chain. In this case, that's a non-issue, because no one cares if their photo of the instrument is "stolen" - all that matters is that the archived version remains unaltered.

The blockchain is still subject to some kinds of attack, it just makes things harder. Trusted entities or maker-maintained databases are not fully secure either. There's always the possibility of a hack or inside job, or simple data loss.

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