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Typing software can identify you

Frappologie researchers say studying keyboard use can already say if you are a man or woman

FRENCH researchers say that they can tell what "type" of person you are by the way you type on a keyboard - and it has wide-ranging security and commercial applications.

Using the study of dynamic typing or frappologie they can come up with different profiles of users - information that could be very useful to search engines or other sites which harvest commercial information.

The team, from the Ecole Nationale Supérieur d'Ingénieurs in Caen, Normandy, is led by Christophe Rosenberger, who says each person has their own way of typing - and the software can tell if it is a man or woman at the keyboard.

It records how long a key is pressed, the pressure of application and release and then the "flight" between the keys, the delay between each stroke or the speed of typing.

Rosenberger, director of the Electronic Banking & Biometrics research team, said that dynamic typing was a technique that would develop in five years and added: "I think we will be able to assess the emotional state of a person's personality by their way of typing on a keyboard."

The software could be used to increase computer security - helping confirm that a password is being typed by the correct person - or in e-commerce to direct advertising based on whether the person at the computer is male or female.

Rosenberger added one possible use of the behavioral biometrics technology could be to protect against online grooming of young people - to tell if a person on a chatline is the 14-year-old girl as claimed or a 50-year-old pervert.

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