Apple’s iPhone 5s with Touch ID seen as protection against U.S. NSA

“Apple Inc.’s use of fingerprint scanning in its new iPhone models could lead more device makers to adopt the authentication method as a successor to passwords – – and that’s fine with privacy advocates,” Todd Shields and Allan Holmes report for Bloomberg. “The introduction coincides with the rise of cybercrime and revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency has intercepted Internet communications and cracked encryption codes on devices including the iPhone.”

“Apple said that on the new iPhone, information about the fingerprint is stored on the device and not uploaded to company networks — meaning it wouldn’t be in data batches that may be sent to or collected by U.S. intelligence agencies under court orders,” Shields and Holmes report. “‘They’re not building some vast biometric database with your identity associated with your fingerprint that the NSA could then get access to,’ Joseph Lorenzo Hall, senior technologist with the Washington-based Center for Democracy & Technology, said in an interview. ‘That’s a good thing.'”

Shields and Holmes report, “Apple’s use gives the technology an endorsement that will probably lead other mobile phone makers such as Samsung Electronics Co. and HTC Corp. to include biometrics in their products, said Avivah Litan, a technology analyst at Gartner Inc., the Stamford, Connecticut-based research company.”

MacDailyNews Take: Yeah, except Apple owns AuthenTec now and the technology may require a powerhouse 64-bit processor like Apple’s new A7. Good luck moving Google’s fragmandroid to 64-bit, perpetual Apple followers… no, actually, make that “bad luck.”

Shields and Holmes report, “‘This is an inflection point because companies are looking for better ways to authenticate users,’ Litan said in an interview. ‘This is an important milestone.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Here’s hoping that Apple’s revolutionary iPhone 5s forces the slavish copiers of the world to rush out poorly-working fingerprint recognition.

Related articles:
Apple’s new iPhone 5s is the world’s first and only 64-bit smartphone – and it will be king of the hill for quite some time – September 13, 2013
Apple leaps ahead with game-changing 64-bit A7 processor – September 13, 2013
Android phone, tablet makers will have difficultly catching up to Apple’s 64-bit A7-powered iPhone, forthcoming iPads – September 13, 2013
Samsung: Uh, someday our phones will have 64-bit processors, too – September 12, 2013
Hands on with the new 64-bit A7-powered iPhone 5s with new M7, camera features & Touch ID – September 12, 2013
Apple increases iPhone 5c and 5s battery sizes relative to iPhone 5 – September 12, 2013
Apple changes the world again, propels biometrics into the mainstream with iPhone 5s’ Touch ID – September 12, 2013
The world’s first 64-bit smartphone is just the beginning, Apple’s A7 chip paves the way for Apple’s long-term future – September 11, 2013
Apple reveals flagship iPhone 5s with Touch ID, the world’s first and only 64-bit smartphone – September 10, 2013
Apple unveils iPhone 5C; pre-order September 13th, on sale September 20th – September 10, 2013
Apple to release iOS 7 with completely redesigned user interface on September 18 – September 10, 2013

27 Comments

      1. Wow, solid, how could you be more wrong!?

        All authoritarian regimes are LEFTIST organizations, not Rightist! Communism, socialism, fascism, totalitarianism of any form comes from the belief that GOVERNMENT is the font of all wisdom and social efficiency. “Give us your freedom of thought and action, and we’ll take care of you! We know better! We are smarter! The group is superior to the individual, so you must surrender your private wishes and needs to the collective!”

        That is liberalism, that is progressivism, not conservatism! Never confuse self-determination and believing in individual rights with authoritarianism. They’re completely antithetical.

        1. Are you really that dimwitted? All authoritarian regimes are leftist, including the Nazis, and the Italian Fascists? How do you manage to work that one out? How about Augusto Pinochet, leader of the military junta that overthrew the SOCIALIST, ie left-wing, government of Salvador Allende in Chile?

          1. Communism, as the USSR used to play it, was extreme Left.

            Nazism, as last century Germany used to play it, was extreme Right.

            What the hell are the leftist teachers doing to today’s graduates?

    1. BLN, you should quit looking for a liberal behind every tree still standing after the right-wing loggers clear cut the forest. (joke)

      Seriously, the Apple Touch ID sensor is *NOT* a political issue, BLN. Surely you can learn to restrain your compulsion to politicize everything on this forum.

    1. Software has vulnerabilities, some of which may be intentional so that the software could be cracked by creators, if needed.

      For example, court documents revealed that Apple has months-long queue for FBI and other authorities for iPhone passwords to be broken. This means that there is vulnerability which allows to crack it. The same could be with hash tags of your fingerprints.

      However, if there would be no vulnerability in software, then it would take astronomic time to crack a hash fingerprint. It is probably time-impossible task for all supercomputers, combined — unless it takes like hundreds or thousands of years.

      The problem here is that Apple’s software is closed, so there is no way to check whether vulnerabilities — intentional or not — exist.

      More importantly, this all makes no relevance to most of people, who use convenient services like iCloud or Google or MS or whatever cloud storages and syncing. All of the data could be accessed by NSA in raw, unencrypted form through separate server portals, which connect to mirror databases. (Thus statements of all of companies that they do not allow “direct” access is technically true; the access is indirect — though result is the same.)

      1. Remember that iCloud data is stored in AES-256 encrypted form, with a unique key for every user. That means the NSA doesn’t have enough compute power to just waltz through everyone’s iCloud data. Targeting an individual won’t present them with too much of a challenge, but wholesale is a different matter. Apple cares about privacy and Google does not.

        1. The law is set in a way that there are secret court orders, under which companies have to abide the spying and they can not even admit it happens in cases, if there is gag order placed.

          Apple has key to iCloud and it turned it over to the NSA, so the court ruling was. So all of information is spying on by NSA. They have over 18 programs to rip apart to shred every bit of privacy that could exist on the Internet.

      2. So if the software was open, where folks can see, and alter the code, you would feel safer?

        Been living in Steve’s walled garden since its creation, have absolutely NO desire to see any part of Apple become “open”. Android is open, and look how well that works.

        1. To be fair, Android OS as source is open, but concrete rendition of it that is placed on Google Nexus 7, Motorola X, Samsung Galaxy S4 — are not.

          There could be a lot of vulnerabilities, including intentional — even though, theoretically, intentional vulnerabilities could be of less quantity.

    2. Seeing as how you can log around four or five different fingerprints, for up to four people, IIRC, and that data is stored WITHIN THE PHONE, how, exactly, will the NSA crack a number that they have zero access to? They can force you to touch the button, allowing access, of course, but without that, there is no way anyone can get into an iPhone.
      Come on, wake up and pay attention at the back.

  1. What a stupid article. All Touch ID does is give you a convenient, secure and LOCAL authentication method which the average Joe can’t duplicate or crack.

    IT DOES NOTHING to further secure any information sent off of the device, such as you iTunes login information, bank login information, etc.

    Plus, all of these moronic pundit and “journalists” seem to think the NSA hacks into your iPhone for information. They simply get it directly from Apple, Verizon, etc. They don’t care what is on your device because anything of interest to them is on the network in some manner.

    1. Well, on Android, as we now know, they can turn on the microphone, so while they aren’t looking for information *on* your phone, they’re looking for information *from* your phone.

      But I agree: Touch ID is not going to be of any interest to them, any more than your four-digit PIN is.

      1. I have read that differences start accumulating between “identical” twins from the time that the fertilized egg splits into two separate zygotes. Like the proverbial puff of air from a butterfly’s wings driving global weather, small environmental differences result in the growth of two unique individuals – physically, intellectually, emotionally – despite their (nearly) identical genetic code base. Even their genetic code contains small differences from mutations.

        In the absence of physical damage, such as a scar from a cut, these differences may not be significant enough for the Apple Touch ID sensor to differentiate between identical twins. But that would certainly be a highly interesting experiment – hint to college student looking for a project!

  2. Children, settle down. Enough speculation about Apple, its fingerprint recognition technology and the NSA. We are speculating on details about which we have no clue.

    Meanwhile, take a trip down memory lane and ask yourself: when and how many times have you been fingerprinted in your life? Did you ever stop to think where your fingerprint might be stored or who can access it?

    Apple is hardly the source for your fears about the government getting its mitts on your fingerprint. They probably acquired that a long, long time ago.

    Next issue…

    1. It isn’t nearly as ubiquitous as so many of you touch id koolaid drinkers want people to believe. Sure, there are some people who have served in the military, worked in government, are immigrants, live in states that require it for a license, or are criminals, but that hardly covers everyone. It definitely doesn’t cover me. The reality is, there would have been far less hoopla if Apple didn’t sneakily build this technology into the home button. I’ll be damned if I “trust” Apple to disable the sensor, and that it won’t be sneakily enabled every time I touch my home button. Every other mechanism for spying on people can already be enabled remotely on the phone, including mic and camera, so what would make anyone think fingerprints would be any different? Also the implications of tying this identifier with the things you are doing on the phone is far too ominous for anyone to just cavalierly shrug and care nothing about.

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