7/31/2013 4:18 PM ET|
Would you give Apple your fingerprint?
The next iPhone is rumored to have a sensor for thumb recognition. Is this just more fodder for the data-hungry NSA?
Some reports suggest that an iPhone owner could unlock the phone using thumb recognition -- a security feature that some users might welcome, as iPhone thefts are on the rise. The 9 to 5 Mac website reports that the user interface for a fingerprint-scanning system has been complete, and quotes a source familiar with the development of the new iPhone.
Some wording allegedly written into the coding for the next iPhone operating system also seems to confirm this, but Apple is not commenting on the issue at all.
But do you really want to give Apple your fingerprint? The company confirmed last month that it fielded as many as 5,000 requests for customer data from the U.S. government over a six-month period ending in May. That's more than 800 requests a month.
Those requests involved 9,000 to 10,000 customer accounts or devices, but not all of the requests were from the NSA's Prism program. The NSA appears to have gained access to some Americans' communications as various technology companies have cooperated with investigators.
That raises some questions. If a fingerprint scanner does exist, would Apple store user fingerprint data in its servers? If so, how easy would it be for the NSA to begin requesting it?
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