iTouch fingerprint system provokes ironic skepticism

Sept. 14, 2013 at 12:17 PM
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CUPERTINO, Calif., Sept. 14 (UPI) -- U.S. technology giant Apple's fingerprint scanning system for the iPhone 5S is not a foolproof system regarding fingerprint privacy, analysts said.

"You don't have to use an image. What you can do is use a mathematical data, like a string of numbers and letters," said Marc Rogers, principle security researcher at Lookout, a technology security firm.

In line with that statement, Apple said that it would not store images of fingerprints, which the company has set up to replace passwords on the iPhone 5S.

Instead, the company would store "fingerprint data," a company spokesman told The Wall Street Journal.

CBS News reported Saturday that even if Apple does not store fingerprint images, human error could play a hand in giving away fingerprint images or data.

Further, worries about privacy are running high as news reports indicate the government has been collecting data from computer and telecommunications companies.

"There's always a risk [of a leak] when you have stored credentials anywhere," Rogers said.

"Security implications are going to be what's interesting because in the past it's been fairly easy to trick fingerprint sensors," said iFixit chief executive officer Kyle Wiens.

It all leads to a potential irony: The system of fingerprint recognition that Apple is introducing to ensure privacy for iPhone owners is the system many fear will lead to privacy abuses if the government or any other organization gets a hold of the fingerprint data.

Of equal irony, consumers are now wary about Apple because it its not being transparent about its data collection. "Apple may be tripped up by its secrecy," Rogers said.

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