The newest Apple iPhone was debuted last week, and one of the new features it boasts is facial recognition technology. So, instead of a fingerprint, your phone will unlock when you look at the screen.
But, can law enforcement force you to open your iPhone X with your face? The phone’s Face ID is raising concerns about privacy in situations where law enforcement is involved. According to Apple, the system is designed to improve each time you use it, even if you change hairstyles or glasses.
The simple answer is that as with any other privacy issue, law enforcement would have to present you with a warrant in order to compel you to unlock your phone. A 2014 landmark Supreme Court case ruled that cops must obtain a warrant to search your device.
Where the issue becomes tricky is in relation to the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. On the one hand, courts have ruled that you cannot be compelled to give up your password without a proper warrant. However, giving up your fingerprint is not considered a form of testimony and is, therefore, not protected under the Fifth Amendment. The same may be argued about the Facial ID recognition.
According to Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, “Typically, in a Fifth Amendment analysis, the government can compel you to produce passwords and signatures, but not engage in a testimonial act that might incriminate you.”
One rather abstract consideration is the courts have said that no one has a “reasonable expectation of privacy” when it comes to our faces. Apparently, there are a lot of laws on the books protecting our fingerprints, but not our faces. There is still plenty of confusion as to where all of this will lead.
The biggest concern is that the Face ID could be easily spoofed, as is what happened with Samsung’s Galaxy 8 phone. However, experts say that Apple learned from that and has created a much more sophisticated Face ID.
Will you give the new iPhone X a try, or are you worried about the new Face ID technology being easily hacked?
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