Wednesday, May 22, 2013

iPhone's fingerprint reader

Everybody's already talking about it: the iPhone 5S, planned to be released this year, will have a fingerprint reader.

For the average user, ignorant of privacy issues, this will be great. With only 1 swipe of the finger, their phone will be unlocked. No need to remember 1 more password or PIN code.

The only problem is: Apple doesn't care about privacy at all. It doesn't care about protecting people's rights. Quite the contrary in fact: it makes money by selling people's freedoms away. If anything, the best bet is that Apple will make copies of people's fingerprints. This is not a rant from an Apple-hater, though I confess willfully my dislike for the policies of Apple. No, this is just a rather rational speculation based on what Apple's done so far: keeping track of its users' every move and recording their voice and voice print when they used SIRI.

Biometrics can be used for security as long as one's biomedical data remains at least partly confidential. With Apple, you can simply consider that the American government will have your prints. If they want to make copies of your prints, they can. Therefore, all security related to your prints is void. You could say that anyone resourceful could obtain your prints anyway. That's true: anyone following you to a restaurant or a pub could obtain a glass that you've touched and use tape. But with Apple, it's millions of people who will surrender their prints willfully without the need for Apple to spend any effort. How'd you like your Big Brother?

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