The iPhone X may not have Touch ID, but it’s got something that its smaller, cheaper stablemates do not – Face ID. Although it was introduced as one of the headline features in the iPhone X, persistent questions about privacy have continued to dog the feature. Now comes the bombshell about Apple apparently planning to share users’ facial recognition data with third-party developers, somewhat undermining all the assurances the company gave at the launch event last month about upholding users’ privacy.
While Apple will apparently not upload facial recognition data to its own servers from your iPhone X, the devil, as always, lies in the details. The company apparently has no qualms about sharing the facial recognition data that could tell developers about exactly you smile or frown. If there’s anything we’ve learned from the series of reported hacks and data breaches in recent times, entrusting companies with your private data is a risky proposition at the best of times even when they’re trying their best to actually protect it, but in this case, there’s no real guarantee that the third-party devs will even do that in the first place.
In its defense, Apple says it has undertaken many precautions to prevent potential abuse, including granting third-party devs only limited access to Face ID data. According to the company, app makers only have access to the visual facial mapping data, and not the final derivative that is used to unlock the iPhone X using Face ID. The company also says that app developers won’t be able to sell the data to anybody under any circumstances, although, how you enforce that worldwide is something that remains to be seen.
The company also says that it has multiple checks and balances in place, including reviews and audits that can result in developers getting kicked off the App Store if they’re found to be in breach of any of the terms and conditions, but what help could it possibly be for hapless users if their data is already up for sale on the Dark Web.