The latest smartphone from Apple, which will be on the shelves on November 3, must be able to recognize the face of the owner in three dimensions, through a series of sensors. An unlocking system supposed to replace the good old secret code.
Impossible to deceive the camera with a photo, ensured the apple brand by proudly presenting its FaceID system last month. Apple promises that the data will only be stored in the phone and that the system is impossible to hack. Fear of a banalization
Despite this, privacy advocates fear that the arrival of facial recognition in a product as sold as the iPhone trivializes this technology and opens the door to wider use by law enforcement, advertisers or others, especially as this tool is not the subject of any legislation.
Even if “Apple has done a number of good things to (defend) privacy,” the question goes beyond the simple case of the iPhone X, says Jay Stanley, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
More science fiction
“There are real reasons to be concerned that facial recognition is progressively making its way into our culture and become a diverted surveillance tool for bad purposes,” he says.
This technology is no longer science fiction in China, leading on the subject. In fast food restaurants, universities, and the fight against crime or in toilet paper dispensers in public places, facial recognition is widely used to monitor citizens.
Some 117 million adults unknowingly stuck
In the United States, researchers at Georgetown University in Washington discovered last year that about 117 million adults in the United States were unwittingly included in facial recognition databases, used by law enforcement agencies, federal and local.
“We do not want police with cameras looking at the faces of people on the street” to compare them to their list of wanted people, insists Jay Stanley.
Clare Garvie, who led the Georgetown study, also thinks that while Apple has a responsible approach, others might be less cautious. “What worries me, she says, is that the public becomes indifferent or complacent.”
The databases reviewed for his study had many errors. This could lead innocent people to be confused with criminals, says the researcher, who is also concerned that this tool can also be used to identify people who have simply participated in a demonstration.
Another possibility is that facial recognition be used by stores to identify potential shoplifters or casinos to identify undesirable players.
And that’s not all. Last year, a Russian photographer found how to match the faces of pornstars – who usually use nicknames – with their profiles on social networks, to reveal their true identities.
Apple’s FaceID could spawn new legal battles, reports Brett Max Kaufman, a lawyer with the ACLU. So, he imagines on the blog of the association: “You are stopped by the police and we take your phone. Could the cops just point the phone to your face and access all of its content? ”
US courts have most often felt that giving his PIN violates rights but things get more nebulous as soon as he This is biometric data, he explains, pointing out that fingerprint unlocking poses the same type of concern. Clare Garvie also anticipates legal battles around facial recognition.
Especially since the Apple system will “popularize this technology and make people more comfortable with (…). They will love, “said analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy. She “will be an integral part of our lives,” says Clare Garvie. “If not already so.” (Nxp / ats)