Apple’s MacBook Pro Touch Bar expected to bring biometric security to the mainstream

October 31, 2016 - 

Apple’s new MacBook Pro, which includes the Touch Bar fingerprint authentication feature, is expected to expand biometric security to the masses, according to a report by Mashable.

The MacBook now offers the same level of security as the iPhone and iPad, while enabling users to improve the privacy around their laptop with a gesture.

“I think it’s practical,” said Chris Pinion, manager of fraud solutions at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. “Biometrics have become so mainstream with consumers using fingerprint and facial biometrics on their phones and tablets to unlock devices, open apps or make purchases, that adding them to laptops would seem to be a natural fit.”

A recent LexisNexis Risk Solutions study on millennial attitudes and behaviors found that 53% of U.S. respondents would trust biometrics as a replacement for the password on laptops, despite only 14% of those surveyed currently use biometric security features on their devices.

In addition to improved security, the Touch Bar interface will offer Apple Pay capabilities. Though adoption of biometric payments has seen relatively slow growth in the U.S., the increasing use of iPhone’s Touch ID feature is helping to change all of that.

“From a consumer privacy standpoint, we applaud Apple’s decision to include its Touch ID on the new MacBook Pros,” said Jay Edelson, CEO of Edelson PC, a legal firm that specializes in technology litigation. “Like in its iOS devices, Apple set up the tech so that it isolates fingerprints to the secure enclave and preserves security by not allowing Apple (or anyone else) to misappropriate them.”

Edelson also pointed out the “dangerous implications” of submitting biometrics data, stating that “fingerprints are not provided much protection in the law enforcement setting and, if a fingerprint is all that is needed to unlock your computer, law enforcement can likely compel you to provide it.”

Regardless, Apple’s new MacBook should help push biometric security into mainstream practice on various devices.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.