iPhone 5 Fingerprint Scans Pave Way to Biometric Future

As the iPhone goes, so goes the world. The consumerist world is buzzing this week with news that Apple’s new iPhone 5S will include a creepy fingerprint scan to unlock the phone and facilitate the ‘secure’ purchase of apps and other products. That’s right, the unsettling development of biometric identification is moving forward in lockstep with the cashless control grid on one of the most widely popular communications technologies in history, all in the wake of fallout over the extent of NSA surveillance programs that monitor and collect data from the communications of ordinary Americans. In attempt to stay one step ahead of privacy concerns, Apple has emphasized that the fingerprint is only stored locally on the phone not on remote cloud servers. However, it is not clear whether or not Apple may still have access to fingerprint data, or whether it is shared through any other systems, or could be hacked remotely or via the physical phone. Further, the iPhone 5S will ‘only’ store a data log identifying your fingerprint, and not a digital image of the actual fingerprint images, though, vulnerabilities clearly still exist. “Fingerprints are not fool-proof and can be duplicated and as the usage of this technology increases, we can expect that duplication technology will improve as well.” Mark Rogers, of the firm Lookout, told the Daily Mail. At this point, users should engage this latest tech update with extreme caution, though droves of fanatical first wave purchasers seems more likely. It was revealed in April 2011 that the iPhone 4 was storing a hidden log of user location data (approximated based on surrounding cell towers and WiFi hotspots) as well as logging timestamps and other data, creating a big enough data picture for some serious privacy concerns. Apple, however, immediately downplayed the significance, just as it has with concerns over fingerprint scans and the iPhone 5, claiming that the log was only kept locally and never sent to Apple or used for tracking. Continue reading

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