At issue is Face ID, a replacement for Touch ID that scans a smartphone owner’s face in order to unlock the device or authenticate Apple Pay. In the letter, addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Franken gets right to the heart of the matter. “Apple has stated that all faceprint data will be stored locally on an individual’s device as opposed to being sent to the cloud,” writes Franken. The Democratic senator from Minnesota addresses the worry that Face ID might discriminate against people of color. “Apple has stated that it used more than one billion images in developing the Face ID algorithm. Where did these one billion face images come from?”.
That pesky bit about Face ID actually securing your device against low-tech hacks? “Please describe again all the steps that Apple has taken to ensure that Face ID can distinguish an individual’s face from a photograph or mask, for example,” requests the senator.
A detailed examination of just what Face ID means for the average consumer’s privacy – not just convenience when unlocking the phone – was overdue the minute the feature was unveiled.