Apple just announced its newest phones, the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, both of which will feature Face ID as a security feature. This means you can use your face to unlock your phone. For many iPhone enthusiasts, this is an improvement on the Touch ID feature — in which your fingerprint unlocks your phone — that has been used for the last few years. But what many iPhone users haven’t considered is that neither Touch ID nor Face ID are nearly as secure as they think. In fact, these features don’t protect the right to privacy, as some people who desperately want access to other people’s iPhones can easily exploit this new technology. Here are some privacy issues you need to know about if you’re wondering if Touch ID and Face ID are actually an improvement to the traditional numerical passcode.
Criminals Could Use Your Image to Access Your Phone
Apple officials have tried to put to rest the concern that simply holding your photo in front of your phone could unlock it using Face ID. The system Apple uses is TrueDepth, which features 30,000 dots that map out your face, including the 3D shape of it. Because of this, a simple photo likely wouldn’t be able to unlock the phone—but a 3D photo might. And considering the increasing popularity of 3D printers, it’s a real possibility that someone who steals your phone could have the ability to get a 3D printout of your face, especially since your photos are probably all over Facebook and other social networks.
There’s No Changing Your Face
The 3D printing issue will need to be tested out soon, but if it turns out it can indeed unlock your phone through Face ID, the problem is that you can’t really change your face like you can change your passcode. This means someone who uses a 3D image to unlock your phone could do so forever. After all, the Face ID feature is supposed to work even if you grow a beard or put on a hat or glasses, so trying to alter your face likely won’t solve the issue. Thus, any criminal who has your phone will have access to all your personal information and can even make purchases simply using a printout of your face.
The Police Can Make You Unlock Your Phone
Currently, the police cannot force you to give them your numerical passcode for your phone. They have to get a search warrant if they want to access it. But this same law does not apply to features like Touch ID and Face ID. In fact, there have already been cases in which the police required someone to place their thumb on their phone to unlock it through Touch ID so they could find information for their case. Naturally, the same could happen with Face ID as more people start to use it. And since you can’t exactly hide your face, it would likely be easy for the police to make you unlock your phone by simply making you look at it once they arrest you.
Fortunately, you don’t have to use the Touch ID or Face ID features on the new phones. You can opt out and stick to the six-digit PIN, which still happens to be the most secure method of unlocking your smartphone. After all, you won’t have to deal with any of these issues when you use a PIN, as this doesn’t give criminals or the police the same advantage as using your face or fingerprint might. So if you’re concerned about security and privacy when it comes to your phone, avoiding the latest technology may be your best bet for now.