September 27, 2017 -
Apple updated the security and privacy section of its website in which the company unveiled new details about how the Face ID facial recognition feature works, according to a report by Business Insider.
The new face recognition technology and corresponding TrueDepth 3D camera is built into the new iPhone X, which will be available on November 3rd.
Since the smartphone was announced two weeks ago, several privacy advocates and security experts have raised concerns about the face recognition technology.
Earlier this month, Senator Al Franken wrote an open letter to Tim Cook regarding the privacy and security concerns about Apple’s Face ID feature, in which he asked him 10 questions about the technology.
Fortunately, the new details posted on Apple’s website answer many questions about Face ID. The section includes a Face ID security overview paper, an Apple Support page on the technology, and a redesigned privacy page in which Apple management states tjat “privacy is a fundamental human right.”
“So much of your personal information … lives on your Apple devices,” Apple wrote on its website. “Your heart rate after a run. Which news stories you read first. Where you bought your last coffee. What websites your visit. Who you call, email, or message.”
Apple is hoping to alleviate any and all concerns about Face ID technology, although this may not be entirely possibly until the iPhone X is tested independently following its release.
“I still need to test it and try it out, and I never fully believe any vendor until we see how something performs in the real world, but on paper this looks secure enough for the vast majority of Apple customers,” said Securosis CEO Rich Mogull, who recently wrote a blog post that emphasized that security systems like Face ID are intended to provide users with the convenience of having no password most of the time instead of creating an uncrackable system.
In order to be truly useful, a system like Face ID would need to prevent so-called “false positives”. Apple said the chance of that occurring at random is 1 in 1 million.
Another risk is that the camera could be fooled by a flat printed photo, which has happened with some of Samsung’s devices in the past. Apple said it tested custom, high-end 3D masks against the system.
Apple also outlined six scenarios in which Face ID would not unlock an iPhone and would instead ask for a passcode, including when the device has just been turned on or restarted, when the device hasn’t been unlocked for more than 48 hours, when the passcode hasn’t been used to unlock the device in the last six and a half days and Face ID hasn’t unlocked the device in the last 4 hours, when the device has received a remote lock command, after five unsuccessful attempts to match a face, and after initiating power off/Emergency SOS by pressing and holding either volume button and the side button simultaneously for 2 seconds.