Apple responds to Sen. Al Franken’s concerns that the sample image stored in the phone’s Secure Enclave never actually leaves the phone.
Apple has finally responded to the concerns of Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), allaying fears the new facial recognition feature that would debut with the iPhone X will compromise the privacy of its users.
Cynthia Hogan, Apple’s VP for Public Policy in her letter to Sen. Franken elaborated how the Face ID tech works in the first place so as to make it clear how it prevents intrusion of user’s privacy in any way.
According to Hogan, Face ID tech relies on TrueDepth camera along with associated sensors to create depth maps and 2D image of the face. The depth maps again are comprised of more than 30,000 dots made by infrared light. This, in turn, is used to create a match with the sample image of the user’s face that is stored in the phone’s Secure Enclave.
Hogan further stated the image thus created and the ones created every time users attempt a login are immediately deleted irrespective of whether it is a match or otherwise. Also, the image stored in the Secure Enclave is applicable to the specific device and never gets transferred to say the cloud or anywhere else.
Sen. Al Franken’s other concern has been that Face ID won’t be able to take into account the sheer diversity exhibited by the human race based on ethnicity, race, gender, age and such. To this, Hogan said Apple has set up a neural network trained to analyze faces which include over a billion images of people from all walks of life and covering the entire world.
The Face ID feature is even trained to keep track of how a face changes over time so that the phone is able to identify the right users even if their features have undergone a change like grown a beard and such.
Apple has always been among the forefront when it comes to protecting user’s privacy, something that got exemplified by its staunch opposition creating a backdoor to unlock the phones used by one of the suspects in the San Bernardino terror attack case. The same efforts continue with Apple making it amply clear the new Face ID tech is all about protecting user’s privacy than the other way round.