My situation: I'm a state licensed locksmith working in and for a retirement community. I inherited its MK "system" from someone previous who didn't know what he was doing. A situation arose there Friday in which someone alleged that their residence had been entered and robbed. After thinking about the things I'd discovered (listed below) I told my manager that I would need to write a document this weekend which I would need to have signed before I could continue to manage this MK situation for the corporation. My concerns which are listed below will explain my desire to protect my locksmith license from revocation and spell out the gravity of what I've discovered.
My thanks to Billy B. Edwards for his inspiration on this. Would you make any changes in this? My wife says I'll get fired for submitting it; what do you think?[begin quote] To confirm our conversations regarding the Master Key "system" currently used at XXXXXXX with XXXX's Property Manager, this document is to serve as record of my concern that the particular MK system which encompasses the housing is seriously flawed. Specifically:
(1) There is no known bitting list. Any change key(s) generated to expand the current system, such as for re-keying a recently-vacated home for new occupant(s), will present a real possibility of unintentional interchange with locks installed on other dwellings. A properly designed MK bitting list serves as the 'rules of the road' in regards to that system. Without those "rules" to go by, laws will most likely be broken and may have serious consequences.
(2) The keys currently used to facilitate a working MK system already violate manufacturer's (Schlage's) specifications for accomplishing the purpose of master-keying. Any expansion of the system can only exacerbate the risk of unintentional key interchange, and although new change bittings can be made to expand the system, they will be educated guesses at best.3) My examination of several change keys and their related cylinders reveals that established master-keying rules were not obeyed when introducing them into the system. In order to make nonconforming change bittings work alongside otherwise-unworkable master keys, bottom pins have been used as top (driver) pins with points down in random cylinders to increase shear line dimensions. This assures that both master keys and change keys will operate the lock cylinders smoothly and without jamming, but it does so at the expense of greatly decreasing the cylinder's resistance to key manipulation, lock picking and "lock bumping." This could even occur accidentally if someone inadvertently tries to open someone else's door with their own key. The likelihood of this actually happening is perhaps very small, but I would be shirking my responsibilities to discover this and leave it unreported to you.
(4) Non-compensating top pins (drivers) have been found in every cylinder I have disassembled to-date. This is a short-cut in recombinating a cylinder; it requires perhaps another minute to re-pin a cylinder according to manufacturer's specifications. This practice has nothing to do with master-keying and usually causes no problem, but it does bypass the manufacturer's security design and lessens that security.
This document is to confirm your understanding of my advisements above and to make a record of them. By signing a copy of this document and returning it, you will authorize me, XXX XXXX state-locksmith license #XXXX, to proceed with your instructions to generate and produce change keys under the current master key using my best judgement and to combinate related cylinders to those two intended bittings. It is understood by you that unintended bittings will result. You will remove from me any and all liability and/or responsibility for following this assignment and will accept that liability and responsibility yourself. Upon receipt of a signed copy of these instructions I will proceed with your directives and with our primary responsibility of protecting the residents and properties of XXXXXXX.