Tech: Apple says it will release a detailed report about how Face ID handles privacy and security (AAPL)

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An image that Apple used to illustrate Face ID.

Apple plans to release more details about Face ID privacy and security before the device goes on sale.

In the three days since Apple took the wraps off the iPhone X, the forthcoming device's facial recognition capabilities have drawn a substantial amount of attention.

Apple fans have welcomed Face ID as the future and the preferred way to unlock an iPhone X. Some privacy advocates have pointed out that the concept seems a little dystopian.

But others, like Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, who chairs a Senate privacy committee, want answers about how it works.

While Apple provided few details about the facial recognition system during the announcement a few days ago, the company now says it plans to release more information about Face ID privacy and security before the device goes on sale on November 3.

Apple's senior vice president for software, Craig Federighi, said that Apple plans to release a security “white paper” on Face ID in an interview with TechCrunch on Friday. Apple often releases detailed, technical reports it calls white papers on critical security features.

One of the common misconceptions about Face ID that Apple is keen to dispel is that Apple is building a database of faces with its new feature. “Face ID data never leaves the device, is encrypted and protected by the Secure Enclave,” an Apple representative told Business Insider.


“We do not gather customer data when you enroll in Face ID, it stays on your device, we do not send it to the cloud for training data,” Federighi told TechCrunch.

An Apple representative provided this statement in response to a question from about Franken's request for information:

Our teams have been developing the technologies behind Face ID for several years, and our users’ privacy has been a priority since the very beginning.

Face ID provides intuitive and secure authentication enabled by the TrueDepth camera system and the A11 Bionic chip, which uses advanced technologies to accurately map and match the geometry of a user's face. Face ID data never leaves the device, is encrypted and protected by the Secure Enclave.

We’ve tested Face ID on people from many countries, cultures, races and ethnicities, using over one billion images to train our neural networks and defend against spoofing.

We’re confident that our customers will love using the feature and find it an easy and natural way to unlock their iPhone X. We will offer more details on Face ID as we near the product’s availability.

A Franken representative did not immediately respond to a inquiry about whether Apple has replied to the senator.

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