How iPhone X's Face ID is bringing privacy back to technology

How iPhone X's Face ID is bringing privacy back to technology


Text: Rachel Ng

Privacy Awareness Week, which runs from 13 to 19 May, is a good reminder to ensure we're keeping our data safe

You might have jumped off the Facebook bus and straight onto the boycotting bandwagon, but Cambridge Analytica is not the only arena where data mining is brewing. More than just a scandal, this sobering episode has revealed the inevitable reality of data sharing breaches becoming an omnipresent threat of both present and future. This Privacy Awareness Week, we take a look at how Apple’s iPhone X is contributing to the fight against this pandemic, starting with its revolutionary Face ID function. These five things about Apple's dedicated facial recognition technology will convert even the toughest critic in you.

1. Measures the depth map of your face

Apple’s Face ID is supported by the TrueDepth camera,  a web of intricacy that captures over 30 000 invisible dots to create a depth map of your face, rendering the probability of a random person unlocking your phone via Face ID approximately 1 in a million, as opposed to 1 in 50,000 for Apple’s Touch ID. It's safe to say that not even your twin can fool the system.

2. Committed to being attention-aware

Forget the imposters or lookalikes, your own face wouldn’t work if you didn’t want it to. Face ID matches against depth information which isn’t found in print or in 2D digital photographs, which not only protects against spoofing against masks, but also ensures your eyes are open and looking towards the device before it permits entry.    

3. Adapts to changing appearances

Precision may be at the forefront of this technology, but the last thing this entails is rigidity. Apple’s Face ID has been engineered to adapt to changes in your appearances, be it with hats, scarves and makeup,  or the more fundamental changes of a maturing face. The data encrypted will be refined and updated as you use Face ID, including when you successfully authenticate, as well as when it detects a close match but a passcode is subsequently entered to unlock the device.  Carry on switching up those looks, your uniqueness is not to be compromised.    

4. Your information never leaves your device

Perhaps the greatest assurance we need to hear — Face ID data will never leave your device, nor will it ever be backed up to iCloud or anywhere else. Even if you wish to provide the data to Applecare for support, you can first review and approve the diagnostic data before releasing it into the wild. There's no backdoor fabrication of psychological or physical profiles; rest assured your facial features aren’t about to be the subject of the next election scandal.

5. Delete your Face ID data anytime  

Such vulnerable exposure does not come without an escape route. You can disable Face ID to delete all Face ID data, including mathematical representations of your face, from your device. You may not be able to disappear completely from the Internet, but your face sure can, from the Apple interface.

Click here to purchase Apple's iPhone X