IPhone X Face Recognition and the sensitivity of the biometric data

IPhone X Face Recognition and the sensitivity of the biometric data

What is iPhone face recognition?

The upcoming iPhone X will use Face ID, technology that unlocks your iPhone X by using infrared and visible light scans to uniquely identify your face.

What is Face ID?

Face ID a form of biometric authentication. Rather than a password (something you know) or a security dongle or authentication app (something you have), biometrics are something you are. Fingerprint recognition is also a biometric.

Instead of one or more fingerprints, as with Touch ID, Face ID relies on the unique characteristics of your face.

How does it work?

  • Initially scan your face accurately enough to recognize it later.
  • Compare a new scan with the stored one with enough flexibility to recognize you nearly all the time.
  • Scan your face in a wide variety of lighting conditions.
  • Update your facial details as you age, change hairstyles, grow a mustache, change your eyebrows, get plastic surgery, and so forth to still recognize you.
  • Let you wear hats, scarves, gloves, contact lenses, and sunglasses, and still be recognized.
  • Not allow a similar-looking person, a photograph, a mask, or other techniques to unlock your phone.

Apple uses a combination of infrared emitter and sensor (which it calls TrueDepth) to paint 30,000 points of infrared light on and around your face and also captures flat or 2D infrared snapshots. For the points, the reflection is measured, which allows it to calculate depth and angle from the camera for each dot and construct a depth map.

Live depth mapping is also used for live tracking for Animoji, the talking animals heads—and piles of poo—that match your facial expressions and lip movement, and other selfie special effects, and is provided to third-party developers. But live depth mapping doesn’t offer up raw sensor data that would let a developer re-create a Face ID map.

Where biometric data are kept and how secure is it, is there any violation to Privacy laws in this technology?

Apple’s description of enrollment and comparison is very similar to Touch ID. The enrollment sends data through a one-way channel to the Secure Enclave, a special tamper-resistant chip bound deeply inside the iPhone and iPad architecture that can only respond with limited information, such as confirming a match was made when unlocking for Apple Pay and the like. Secure Enclave also stores some other private information.

As a result, Apple doesn’t collect this information and process it centrally, nor does it store it on the device in a manner that can be retrieved by cracking a phone, a phone backup, or intercepting information to and from it.

However, the concern remains that, with proprietary technology under the control of Apple, a government could force changes that would pass or extract facial identification information, or perform comparisons with faces that a government is looking for.

In the current hardware architecture, however, that seems unlikely. Apple has engineered its systems so that there’s no reasonable way to rework it to change the flow of facial (or, with Touch ID, fingerprint) information to a different source. It would have to create a whole new kind of phone and new firmware.

As an off note; till now there is no 100% guarantee that biometric data will be 100% secured and can’t be hacked a third party applications if the phone lands in the wrong hands.

Pros & cons of face recognition?

Pros:

  • Improve the speed and convenience of daily activities for consumers, like shopping, where a customer could simply look into a camera, have their face identified , and pay for a transaction in a matter of moments.
  • It can also help with surveillance, having the ability to monitor thousands of faces from security cameras.

Cons:

  • Security part of this technology would be that people’s every movement could be tracked without their consent.  This could also possibly be used by the government to identify and follow political opponents, which would cause a great amount of conflict in a country.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *