Thursday, November 23, 2017

Does the New iPhone X’s Facial Recognition Program Pose a Threat for Society?

October 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Features

by Amelia Colecchia, Staff Writer

Apple’s new iPhone X, commonly known as the iPhone 10, has an extremely controversial feature. This feature is known as the “Facial recognition” feature, or Face ID. According to Apple Inc., “Your face is now your password. Face ID is a secure new way to unlock, authenticate, and pay.” Many people have theories of why this feature is far from secure, thus creating a polarizing view of Apple’s new product.

A third grader recently frequenting Thomas Jefferson elementary argues that it is unsafe stating, “a machine should not be able to recognize a human face.” She continues with “say someone has a identical twin they could easily steal their phone and log in because they have the same face, everybody possesses a different fingerprint but it is too easy to have someone’s face.” As she elaborates, she observes a disconcerting truth. “Say somebody hacks into Apple, I don’t want them to see my face and be able to get into my phone.”

Many people have agreed with this realization, including a sixth grader currently attending Frelinghuysen Middle School, as she concurs with the fact that facial identification in general is an enormous security issue. She says, “this system is effortless to hack into, for a malicious hacker, it would be a breeze.” Uninterrupted, she vocalizes that “if something major happens to your face such as plastic surgery, a serious burn, and/or excessive makeup, your phone might not be able to detect your face.” She continues stating, “if you were to crack you phone; which is not hard to do, especially with a fully glass phone, your camera might crack as well. If this were to happen, it would be impossible to unlock your phone. This is due to the fact that when a camera cracks it can not get the full image. If the unlocking system were to be the original four to six digit passcode, this would be a non existent setback.”

In conjunction with both the third and sixth grader, a freshman attending Morristown High School debates that facial ID is revolting. she says “I believe the government is behind Apple’s new Face ID, controlling us, conditioning us to think it makes things easier, faster, and more efficient.” She expresses more, “I think they are just trying to find an easier way to get as many faces as they can into their database. If this is the case hacking would be especially easy.” She adds “I also believe that Apple’s 2013 fingerprint recognizing technology was much more secure.”

Although most people believe that this technology is dangerous, it is still a controversy seeing as others regard this new technology as a positive. For instance, David Martin thinks “it’s great that they integrated that technology into the IPhone, it’s extremely innovative; I think that the safety aspect is remarkable.” Even though he loved the idea, he did have one concern: “I would wait until they improve their Face ID firewall from hackers, but in probably two years time I would definitely want to get the IPhone X.” He concludes with “Since my occupation is on the internet, I think the technology is outstanding, this technology should be on televisions, cameras, and computers!”

As I interviewed these four different age groups of people, I realized something interesting. All of the people that felt the technology was hazardous were millennials, and when I interviewed David he felt otherwise. Other news outlets agree with the millennials, Independent.co.uk also believe that the new IPhone X Face ID has the potential to be “outright dangerous.” Another news outlet, Telegraph.co.uk, adds, “previous facial recognition systems have been easily fooled by photos or masks, and there are growing privacy and safety fears that companies and governments could exploit the technology for surveillance and tracking purposes.” They are concerned that Apple did not fix all of the previous problems from other Face ID technology devices. I realized that many people have concerns that it would not work properly. This is valid due to the fact that on September 12th 2017, during Apple’s demonstration video of the IPhone X, Philip Schiller, vice president at Apple, had a mishap and the Face ID failed to work properly. Globally the IPhone X is not only making headlines about the new facial recognition technology feature, but the controversies bring up valid points that I assume Apple will take into consideration when improving their technology.

However, Telegraph.co.uk leaves us with one critical question: “With facial scanning set to be one of the major privacy battlegrounds of the next few years, could Apple’s endorsement of the technology make us too comfortable with facial tracking?”

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