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Apple might have over-egged iPhone X privacy pudding

by on02 November 2017

Developers will have access to facial data

While the Tame Apple Press praised Apple for promising that facial data used to unlock its new iPhone X would be securely stored on the phone, now it appears that it might not have been giving a clear picture about how the data would be used.

Apparently thousands of app developers will gain access to facial data in order to build entertainment features for iPhone X customers.

Jobs’ Mob will allow developers to take certain facial data off the phone as long as they agree to seek customer permission and not sell the data to third parties.

But of course that makes Apple’s assurances about privacy meaningless as it will have absolutely no control over the security of each developer. In fact the only thing that Apple has over the developers is that their products could be kicked off the App Store.

Privacy groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Democracy and Technology are worried and the Tame Apple Press has gone into damage limitation mode.

Reuters points out that the data available to developers cannot unlock a phone.

However, it is a major issue about the ease with which developers can whisk away face data to remote servers which Jobs’ Mob can’t touch.

It is not helpinf that Apple is sending out conflicting messages: Face data is highly private when used for authentication, but it is sharable - with the user’s permission - when used to build app features.

Privacy experts say their concerns about iPhone X are not about government snooping, since huge troves of facial photographs already exist on social media and even in state motor vehicle departments. The issue is more about unscrupulous marketers eager to track users’ facial expressions in response to advertisements or content, despite Apple’s contractual rules against doing so.

Last modified on 02 November 2017
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