Apple’s FaceID may prove to be a true privacy killer

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As if Apple needs any real marketing strategy or selling points to justify their brand new, hot off the shelf, $1,000 iPhone X.  Apple’s new Face ID works by mapping a face with over 30,000 invisible dots, which is used to create a mathematical 3-D model. The company calls the special camera hardware it uses to map out faces its True Depth system. I don’t know about you but this level of technology is creeping me out…

The new generation of iPhones could be the privacy killer we have all been waiting for. The most recent attempt to dominate the technology market – the iPhone X – has some relatively obvious new features including the screen size, resolution and data configuration. The new feature that has everyone scratching their heads and rolling their eyes is the biometric facial recognition software. This addition may prove to be the tipping point between the die hard Apple fanboys and the tin foil hat wearing people that swear nothing is discrete or private anymore.

“I can’t really comment on the FaceID technology yet because it hasn’t been put to the test in the real world, but if what Apple is saying about the privacy and security settings is true, I have a hard time discrediting that,” The Shops at Mission Viejo staff member Mo Kantari said. “I’m as a anxious as the next guy to see where this new technology takes but I guess we will just have to wait and see.”

Now, I certainly don’t want to discredit the technology mogul known as Apple, especially given noteworthy, pro-consumer privacy beliefs taken by the them. But, CEO Tim Cook bravely refused to help authorities access the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone over privacy concerns— taking the progressive stance that deciding when to provide assistance and when not to help law enforcement is too slippery a slope for a publicly traded company vested with zero legal authority over such issues.

“People are now paying for phones over long periods of times, very few people will pay the price tag of the phone initially. Also, most people trade in their current phone, and that reduces the price further, and some carriers even throw in subsidies and discounts,” Cook said in an article on titled “Tim Cook on the $1,000 iPhone X: ‘It’s a value price, actually,” “When we look at it, the iPhone in particular has become so essential in our daily lives, people want it to do more and more, so we’ve built more and more technology in to be able to do it.”

Still, it isn’t really about the price of the technology but rather what the technology implies as it may have adverse effects on society as a whole.Now,we all know that the Silicon Valley isn’t completely spotless in the land of data monetization. Apple is more privacy based than not when compared to its little brothers over in the corporate sector. To be clear, this does not mean that Apple isn’t in the information business, because they definitely are and they’re not afraid to show it. But in general, under Tim Cook’s rule, the company has been sensitive to the issue of consumer privacy.

Yet, Apple has stated that they will be using a a secure network to store all of its biometric data, which most cybersecurity experts agree that the safest place to store biometric data is locally or on the actual device using the software. If the data is stored on a server but is not encrypted, what safeguards are in place to prevent a third party from stealing that facial recognition data for other purposes like advertising.

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Consumers are already questioning whether facial identification could be spoofed or not. And it’s also possible police would be able to more easily unlock phones without consent by simply holding an individual’s phone up to his or her face.

There is an all too real concern that our fourth amendment rights may be breached due to this rollout. The privacy rights of suspects or criminal defendants may show itself as the most immediate problem to the iPhone’s facial recognition technology.The bigger issue from a security standpoint is the question of overall efficacy. Biometric authentication is flawed. It doesn’t matter what kind we’re talking about. Facial recognition can be tricked, voice prints can be stolen, fingerprints can be copied and even retina scans have been defeated by hackers.

By generating millions of face prints while simultaneously controlling the cameras that can scan and identify them, Apple might soon face a government order to turn its new unlocking system into an application for secret (or not so secret) mass surveillance. For instance,  application makers typically get permission to collect data through terms-of-service agreements, which very few consumers bother to read. In theory this could be a way for app makers to vacuum up millions of facial images.