iPhone X Creates Privacy Concerns

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Privacy experts and normal iPhone users are expressing concern over some of the new iPhone X’s features. One feature in particular, the Face ID (an advanced biometric scanner), hopes to ditch the usual iPhone thumbprint scanner completely.

Reuters reports that Apple is permitting developers to access "certain facial data" with user permission. This includes a visual representation of your face, and over 50 facial expressions. The scanner can even monitor how often the owner blinks or smiles.

This data could be removed from the device and stored on a developer’s own server.

When Apple announced that the newest phone would feature a depth-sensing camera for facial recognition, the company made sure to address the growing privacy concern from people. Apple stressed that the facial data would only be used to unlock the phone, and would be securely stored on the phone itself.

“The privacy issues around of the use of very sophisticated facial recognition technology for unlocking the phone have been overblown,” Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union said. “The real privacy issues have to do with the access by third-party developers.”

To unlock the device, Apple stores the user’s face inside the phone on a secure database. This means that the face information cannot leave that device -- similar to how the fingerprint scanner previously. 

But the fact that developers can capture face data and store it somewhere else is what is scaring consumers and tech experts.

According to Engadget, Apple is granting developers access to its Face ID API, which can let them unlock a mechanism on all your apps; even on secure banking and payment apps. Many believe that the company is allowing developers to have access to a lot more data than what has been reported.

Reuters adds that Apple's developer agreement forbids app makers from sharing the information with marketers. But if the information isn’t correctly policed, it could still find its way into the hands of advertisers.

This could result in an increase in targeted ads that may be able to track your facial reactions to a specific ad. Engadget notes that this type of tracking data would be an absolute “goldmine” for advertisers.

Apple has yet to release a statement on the matter.

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