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iPhone X’s Face ID raises privacy questions

Posted September. 18, 2017 07:23,   

Updated September. 18, 2017 07:47


The new iPhone X’s facial recognition system “Face ID” raises questions since Apple unveiled the phone on last Tuesday (local time). Washington politicians continue to express concerns over the exposure of personal information. Senator Al Franken of Minnesota sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook with some questions on the privacy and the security of the Face ID feature to explain the company’s measure on the protection of personal information in detail.

Biometric recognition is widely used on smartphones as their key feature. However, it still raises important questions about privacy and security of authentication method.

For concerns over infringements of personal privacy, Apple simply said that such things will never happen. Apple said biometric data collected by Face ID is protected by its “Secure Enclave” and the processing is done entirely on the device and not in the cloud. The company argued that it cannot use the personal information for other purposes or sell to the third party.

“The odds are low that the personal information will be misused as all companies as well as Apple’s Face ID store biometric data such as fingerprints, iris, and voice on the individual device not in the central server,” said Professor Kim Seung-joo at Graduate School of Information Security of Korea University. “However, questions still remain open as Apple hasn’t provided its security measures and privacy protection polices in detail.”

Jae-Hee Kim jetti@donga.com