Apple iPhone users have started a petition to urge Apple to resist demands that it build-in a backdoor to its Face ID facial recognition authentication system, built-in to the iPhone X. The petition has already garnered more than 10,000 signatures.
Apple, like most technology firms, is frequently assailed by the authorities to provide nice and eacy backdoor access to its wares, but claims that it regularly resists such demands from the authorities.
That hasn't stopped the Care2 petition taking off.
"Ahead of the release of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, a new Care2 petition is asking Apple to create a safeguard against police who might wave someone's phone in front of their face to force it to unlock using the new Face ID," says Care2.
"With Face ID, iPhone users can unlock their phones simply by looking at it. While Face ID won't unlock the phone if someone's eyes are closed, those who have signed the Care2 petition say it has scary implications for law enforcement - could police wave your phone in front of your face to unlock it without a search warrant?"
Probably, who knows? We guess they could if they had the tools to do it. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, is vocally opposed to being a backdoor provider and has likened the existence of such access to cancer. Care2 didn't drop any C-bombs but did suggest some urgency is needed when it comes to an Apple intervention.
"The Care2 petition is asking Apple to add an emergency locking mechanism that will disable Face ID in the event of an interaction with law enforcement," said Julie Mastrine, Care2's manager of brand marketing and PR.
"We shouldn't have to wait for a violation to happen and be litigated for Apple to take precautions against this potential privacy violation. Apple is clearly a company that cares about privacy, and it should anticipate the potentially dangerous implications of Face ID for users who find themselves interacting with law enforcement."
She added that US border agents are already pretty grabby when it comes to people's phones, and that should be enough of a concern to us already.
"Border agents often look through passengers' devices as they enter or leave the country. It's not a far stretch to imagine police taking advantage of the current legal gray area with Face ID and forcing citizens to unlock their phones when inside the border, too," she said.
"That means that whether or not police can unlock our devices using Face ID remains to be seen until it happens and the case winds up in court."
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