Can Apple be Trusted with our Thumbprints?

Posted Saturday, February 1, 2014 in Online, Mobile & IT by Peter Horne

So a friend asked me if Apple can be trusted with thumb prints? And can the govt ask apple to provide thumb prints? Interesting questions. Post NSA we know companies can be compelled to give what they would not prefer to provide...

Thoughts?

9 comments


  • sjordan
    Scott Jordan on February 1, 2014 at 10:16 p.m.
    First, your thumbprint is on everything you've ever touched, starting (in the US at least) with your birth certificate.  What's one more on (and in) your phone?
     
    Except, it's not in your phone.  The fingerprint sensor produces a numerical signature based on the fingerprint.  Reversing the code into a fingerprint is impossible without detailed knowledge of the sensor's intricacies, which Apple is not exactly free with.  And the code is stored in encrypted form, with the key unique to each unit.
     
    Considering how much personally identifying information people freely give up to Google, Facebook and such in return for Free Stuff, and considering the NSA's access to that information and everything else about you (including your birth certificate with its actual physical record of your fingerprint), this strikes me as one of the sillier concerns folks could have.
     
    Worry about other stuff, is my advice.
     
    --S.
  • phorne
    Peter Horne on February 1, 2014 at 10:29 p.m.
    12 months ago the paranoid people with tin lids were nut jobs. Now they're vindicated. I think it's a good question.  
     
    The risk to you and me is nil. But the sum of all data we give up to vendors is not at zero risk.  
     
    I don't trust anymore.
     
    Pete
  • sjordan
    Scott Jordan on February 1, 2014 at 10:41 p.m.
    If you're going to fret about information getting into evil folks' hands, worry about info that isn't already all over the place.
     
    --S.
  • phorne
    Peter Horne on February 1, 2014 at 11:56 p.m.
    Lol. My thumb print and all other 9 digits is in the US immigration database.
  • phorne
    Peter Horne on February 1, 2014 at 11:58 p.m.
    Interesting tho, isn't it. When you do a personal audit of your info there is no privacy. Maybe Scott McNealy was right... Your info is already out there so get over it!
  • sjordan
    Scott Jordan on February 2, 2014 at 7:46 a.m.
    "The risk to you and me is nil. But the sum of all data we give up to vendors is not at zero risk." 

    Okay, fine.  But my bedrock point is that your thumbprint is already available, starting from your birth certificate and continuing up to everything you touched today: every doorknob, coffee cup, juice glass, ...and yes, your phone.
     
    If you're going to fret about information getting into evil folks' hands, worry about info that isn't already all over the place.
     
    --S.
  • sjordan
    Scott Jordan on February 2, 2014 at 7:46 a.m.
    Besides, the original question regarded whether Apple could be trusted with your fingerprints.  Let's leave alone for the moment that the Federal busybodies already have plentiful access to your fingerprints from your birth certificate forward.  (For that matter, now that one's medical care has been claimed as any of the Federal government's business, all your biometric data is accessible to them.)  
     
    But ignore that for the moment:
     
    Trust reflects motive.  It is one thing for a company to be compelled to release information to the cloak-and-dagger types through threat of bone breaking legal assault.  It is another for the company to be founded on a business model of acquisition of its users'  data and retailing it to the highest bidder.
     
    --S.
  • phorne
    Peter Horne on February 5, 2014 at 11:29 a.m.
    Business models change... money is always a motive.  Or in the NSA's case - information as power is a motive.  Incorporation's (government or commercial) are not people; and I do no trust them.  It is not paranoid but prudent to assume your information is not safe.  And Apple deserves no trust either, because of the company it keeps.

    I use my thumb print feature, but I use my iPhone for little else than calls, texts, and as a hotspot.  I don't not use technology, I am just more selective about the technology I use.  I try to make as few, small and light footprints as I can.  Because in cyberspace we are walking on the moon, not the beach.  Our footprints stay there forever.
  • feemally2@gmail.com
    feemally Russia on February 6, 2014 at 2:51 a.m.
    Really it is not an easy task to save finger print. Some time it get error in scanning. It is secure but sometime it become problem when finger is wounded and app not detect the finger print. I don't want to use this till when any encryption alternative not made for the finger print. 
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