Will Apple Share Facial Recognition Data with Developers?

When Apple released the new iPhone X, there was clearly so much anticipation as the phone was touted to come with extra and more exciting features as had been suggested earlier by the company. One of the most notable upgrades of the phone was the replacement of Touch ID as well as the home button with Face ID.

According to the company, Face ID is believed to be the most secure way so far of unlocking your phone, placing the false positive ratio at 1,000,000:1 as compared to the 50,000:1 ratio in the case of Touch ID. As expected, there was so much hype among phone enthusiasts as many wanted to get their hands on this gadget and begin enjoying this amazing feature.  Here is a closer look at the feature.

Just What Can Face ID Do?

As the name suggests, and as already been explained, the Face ID technology enables you to unlock your phone just by using your face. By use of an inbuilt depth-sensing and 3D mapping technology, the phone can correctly identify your face and grant access to its features, something that has been lauded by many gadget users who are constantly worried about the privacy of their information in the event their phones are lost or fall in the hands of third-party users.

In addition to unlocking your phone, the Face ID feature enables you to authorize payments as well as enter crucial banking apps so you can do any banking transaction wherever you are.

But What Else Did Apple Reveal

Amidst all these hype, Apple dropped another bombshell when they declared that they would share facial recognition data with the app developers, something that hasn’t gone down well with privacy experts. In essence, the user can grant permission to the developers to capture a rough image of the phone user’s face and about 50 different expressions of their face. This information can then be transferred to the developers’ servers.

This decision appears to have been inspired by good intentions because developers like Facebook will then use the face-mapping features to advance their filter options so as to create more access and navigation time within their platform. On the other hand, game developers could also benefit from this revelation by creating more interactive avatars.

But perhaps what’s interesting and ironical about this is that Apple will only allow app developers to collect the facial recognition data but it won’t allow them to use the information for any marketing campaigns. The data should also not be used to create anonymous profiles or sold to third parties for obvious confidentiality purposes.

Privacy Issues

Be that as it may, privacy organizations are not having any of it. Bodies such as American Civil Liberties Union have already sounded the alarm bells, claiming the app developers could use the facial recognition information for purposes other than the intended ones. Reached for comment on the matter, Apple was categorical that the information shared with the developers would not compromise the security of the phone users in any way, as it was based on complex mathematical formulas that ensured the actual facial identity of the user was not disclosed. Apple also added that should any app developer try to use the information for any purpose other than the intended ones, they would take drastic measures to punish such developers, one of which would be kicking them off the App Store.

While Apple may be acting in good faith by sharing facial recognition data with app developers, there may be undue curiosity on the part of developers to abuse such information. The onus, therefore, is on the company to try and ensure the information so shared cannot compromise the identity of the developers in any way. For now, we can expect some push and shove between the company and privacy organizations.