Advertisers threatened me on twitter for ridiculing their misleading ad



  2016: Hackers can now steal the #slowblood scanning biometric data from Android phones.

colortext: hackers

Today advertisers answered a tweet with a link to a story about the possibility to steal fingerprints remotely from Android phones with a blatant advertisement for their “superior” “proprietary” technology. When I ridiculed their advertisement, they threatened me. Let’s call them colortext and their brand #slowblood.12

I was annoyed at the ad, but I decided to answer with a smile:

2016: Hackers can now steal the #slowblood scanning biometric data from Android phones.

They answered

(Tech) cannot be compromised or recreated unlike fingerprints.

And that’s quite a claim, so it just called for a counter:

2017: CCC hackers log into Merkelphone with a 30€ bioprint of remotely copied #slowblood data.3

and added

you get snide remarks for your blatant self-advertisement of proprietary tech.

…and for “can’t be compromised” ← that is a HUGE claim.

to which they first answered with a twinkle

…-letting people know there’s a superior alternative ;)

but after I replied

or was this an offer to send the hackers your security system so they can test it?

…(in that case I would take back my criticism)

they went on to threaten me:

You are tweeting lies and using our trademark without consent.

I felt a sudden pang of fear. Still I answered

[…] are you threatening me for using the same hashtag as you?

2018: #slowblood developers at colortext realize that 2016 and 2017 were in the future back in 2015

But despite the irony in the text my heart was thumping hard. That threat is a serious one. I reported it to twitter:


A few minutes later their tweets were gone — but I had expected that and taken screenshots. I’m writing about it, because I consider their actions unacceptable behavior - and because my heartbeat isn’t completely back to normal yet. Their harassment works, so they have to be called out for it.

Note: Different from the rest of my page this image is not GPL licensed because it contains text from them as proof of their actions. Their individual lines do not constituate a creative effort, but the combined text might reach the threshold of intentional creative [inappropriate word omitted].


In notification view which includes a few additional tweets (dear twitter, this is a bug!):


  1. I will not name them here because they later threatened me with a trademark violation. The name is in the pictures because I’m pretty sure that if they use their brand as hashtag, the hashtag is fair game on twitter. In this text I’ll instead use the names colortext for the company and and #slowblood for the tech. 

  2. I don’t have anything against their tech. It might be brilliant and provide security for years to come, or it might just be another fad. Their way to advertise it as the solution to all the security problems is what irks me. It’s still a marker which is tied to your body, so you cannot change it in case it is copied. As such, its security properties are questionable: If it is copied once, you as person cannot use the method again until there are new sensors which cannot be fooled by copies of data from the old sensors. For its security properties you have to rely on constant improvements in the sensors -- but this offers no advantage over copied fingerprints from the android. The only advantage I can see is that you can’t steal these prints in real-life resolution by handing someone a glass water. You might now think that they actually had a point, but sadly that security property is completely irrelevant to the article on which the advertisers replied, because the article showed that fingerprints where copied in the resolution measured by the sensor. There would be no advantage at all from switching from fingerprint to #slowblood, so what they did is just bad advertising -- and sending out threats when they were called out for their bad style. 

  3. They did not spot the implication in here that the german chancellor would use their tech in 2017. I intentionally gave them that lead to turn this around in a fun way but they seem to have missed it. 

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