Facial recognition on iPhone could hurt privacy, UO prof says

Facial recognition map

Apple’s iPhone X comes with a host of new features, the most publicized of which is FaceID — users can unlock their phone just by looking at it. But according to UO law professor Carrie Leonetti, speaking with PBS, so could police.

“There’s at least a very open question if police said, ‘Tell us your iPhone password.’ You could successfully assert your Fifth Amendment privilege,” she said. “The Fifth Amendment protects communication and probably thought processes. It does not protect other tangible things, like your fingerprints or your face.”

However, several security features are offered in Apple’s new operating software to prevent law enforcement from breaking into a phone. The “SOS mode” disables facial recognition or fingerprint sensors, and the phones could also be set to require a password when connecting to a new computer, making it harder for police to transfer data.

Security experts typically recommend using a six-digit pin for people who want to be assured of their phone’s security and changing the code often.

For more, see “With FaceID, Apple’s iPhone X wades into Fifth Amendment gray area” on PBS Newshour.