There are already a few biometric external hard drive enclosures on the market that purport to offer some kind of data security by requiring a touch from the appropriate finger or thumb. But this is the first we've seen that comes with its own touch-sensitive LCD display.

The ¥14,800 (£70) EZ 850 from Digital Cowboy in Japan can hold a standard SATA 2.5-inch laptop hard drive and connects by USB in the usual fashion. However, the electronics in the box remain completely inactive until a secret number is entered via the touch screen.

Just rip the drive out

Once that's done, the drive functions like any other but, should someone without the PIN connect the EZ850 to a computer, nothing will happen, as it won't be recognised.

The concept is admirable, even if Digital Cowboy does market it as a way to hide things from your family. But the fact that it comes without a drive and so has screws on the underside for opening it to add (or remove) one suggests a teeny weeny little flaw in the whole security aspect of the plan.