“Even Apple will not be able to explain how its forthcoming iPhone X can spot some efforts to fool its facial recognition system,” Leo Kelion reports for BBC News. “The firm has released a guide to the Face ID system, which explains that it relies on two types of neural networks – one of which has been specifically trained to resist spoofing attempts. But a consequence of the design is that it behaves like a ‘black box.’ Its behaviour can be observed but the underlying processes remain opaque.”

“So, while Apple says Face ID should be able to distinguish between a real person’s face and someone else wearing a mask that matches the geometry of their features, it will sometimes be impossible to determine what clues were picked up on,” Kelion reports. Previous attempts a facial recognition from the likes of Samsung “have been plagued by complaints they are relatively easy to fool by with photos, video clips or 3D models shown to the sensor.”

“This has made them unsuitable for payment authentication or other security-sensitive circumstances,” Kelion reports. “In publishing its Face ID documentation more than a month ahead of the iPhone X going on sale, Apple is hoping to head off such concerns – particularly since the handset lacks the Touch ID fingerprint sensor found on its other iOS phones and tablets.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: An inscrutable neural network that teaches itself and makes its own decisions?

Oh, relax. What could possibly go wrong?

Apple’s “Face ID Security” document states, in part:

Face ID data, including mathematical representations of your face, is encrypted and only available to the Secure Enclave. This data never leaves the device. It is not sent to Apple, nor is it included in device backups. The following Face ID data is saved, encrypted only for use by the Secure Enclave, during normal operation:

• The infrared images of your face captured during enrollment.
• The mathematical representations of your face calculated during enrollment.
• The mathematical representations of your face calculated during some unlock attempts if Face ID deems them useful to augment future matching.

The neural networks may be updated over time. To avoid a user having to re- enroll to Face ID when these neural network changes are made, iPhone X will be able to automatically run stored enrollment images through the updated neural network. In addition to being encrypted and protected by the Secure Enclave, these enrollment images are cropped to your face, minimizing the amount of background information. Face images captured during normal unlock operations aren’t saved, but are instead immediately discarded once the mathematical representation is calculated for comparison to the enrolled Face ID data.

Apple’s full “Face ID Security” document is here.

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