This kind of technology is something that has been a staple idea in our imaginations about the future since sci-fi began. The fingerprint as the password to your iPhone is truly a genius idea. Apple has had this idea set in place already with the iCloud and the simple fact that the email that is associated with that account cannot be changed. (I know this from experience, I asked several people at the Apple store and all of them said that changing that email is impossible.) In a way, this is already a sign of an identity of some kind via Apple’s iCloud system. For the same reason, when an iPhone user wants to get a new one or upgrade to a better model, it is still the “same phone” they will tell you, in the sense that it is “your phone.” This is the premise that Apple has operated on for so long! Your pictures, contacts, text messages can all be re-accessed even if the iPhone user has damaged the phone.
This is a very intimidating concept. So much of my personal information and private life is saved on some external system, a cloud somewhere on the internet, that is beyond me. But now, with the arrival of this technology, my fingerprint can become a part of this identity too. Apple’s website provides information on the security of the touch ID system on their website. “Your fingerprint is one of the best passcodes in the world. It’s always with you, and no two are exactly alike.” According to the information on this webpage, “You can even use it to authorize purchases from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store.” All of the sudden, your fingerprint has turned into a credit card too! I will admit that I think it is pretty cool, but unfortunately, it’s not as cool as it is creepy to me. The intricacy of this technology is reason to believe that the chances for identity theft, with a system like this, will be slim, 170 microns thin, almost equivalent to the thickness of a human hair. The sensor installed in the 5s can read extremely fine details of a fingerprint.
What most people, myself included, may worry about is a copy of my fingerprint being recorded somewhere in the device. However, according to the site, “Touch ID does not store any images of your fingerprint. It stores only a mathematical representation of your fingerprint. It isn’t possible for your actual fingerprint image to be reverse-engineered from this mathematical representation…Fingerprint data is used only by the Secure Enclave to verify that your fingerprint matches the enrolled fingerprint data. The Secure Enclave is walled off from the rest of A7 and as well as the rest of iOS. Therefore, your fingerprint data is never accessed by iOS or other apps, never stored on Apple servers, and never backed up to iCloud or anywhere else. Only Touch ID uses it and it can’t be used to match against other fingerprint databases.” I’m afraid that I am still not convinced. You won’t see me with one of these.
Here is another video to watch.
- About Touch ID Fingerprint Sensor Security on the iPhone 5s (iClarified.com)
- Apple’s Touch ID: What it is and how it works (thetechscoop.net)
- About Touch ID Security (support.apple.com)
- Give Me the Finger – Biometrics, That Is… (tripwire.com)
- Touch ID (pabloclementeperez.wordpress.com)