Apple’s Touch ID rules: Protecting human rights

“Apple does business in a lot of countries,” Glenn Fleishman writes for Macworld. “Some of those countries have as close to fairly elected democratic representation as can be realized with actual human beings involved.”

“Others may have elections but shade towards an overweening military or executive power that nullifies their value,” Fleishman writes. “Others still are outright totalitarian regimes, in which individual power is meaningless against the state’s control.”

“Apple sells into all those markets. And some of the security features it builds aren’t for those of us who live in countries that have—or purport to have—the rule of law, and checks and balances that allow for courts to intervene if the police or executive go too far,” Fleishman writes. “Apple’s addition of a new Touch ID restriction could be about prodding people’s memories, or it could be another protection for people without legal protections.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: When Apple CEO Tim Cook joined Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights’ board of directors, he quoted RFK’s “Day of Affirmation Address” given at the University of Capetown, Capetown, South Africa on June 6, 1966:

Everywhere new technology and communications brings men and nations closer together, the concerns of one inevitably become the concerns of all.

You carry forever the fingerprint that comes from being under someone’s thumb. — Nancy Banks-Smith

To set a stronger alphanumeric passcode on your iOS device that cannot be easily brute-forced:
1. Settings > Touch ID & Passcode. On devices without Touch ID, go to Settings > Passcode
2. Tap Change Passcode
3. Tap Passcode Options to switch to a custom alphanumeric code
4. Enter your new, stronger passcode again to confirm it and activate it

Apple beefs up Touch ID rules in face of legal rulings – May 20, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook joins Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights’ board of directors – April 6, 2016


  1. We know full well that:
    A) Apple is doing a brilliant job fighting for human rights as applied to our computerized devices of all sorts.
    B) This is going to piss off the FAILed governments of the world who impose totalitarian surveillance and censorship. They are so screwed up as to require the abuse of their citizens in order to maintain their FAILed system of control. It’s desperation behavior. But companies are stuck dealing with these desperate people if they want to sell their products in their abused countries. Hello China.

    Conclusion: The curse of ‘interesting times’.

    Meanwhile, at my level of involvement in the world, I contribute what I can to unmask the abusers, call them what they are, speak ‘truth’ (as I see it) to power and help to bring down the walls of desperation and engender real creativity in the world. If it’s not creative, its not capitalism. That’s one of my maxims. Clearly, the totalitarians are that awful alternative that is currently so prevalent in the world, especially in the USA itself: PARASITES.

    1. [A big THANKS! to Glenn, who’s one of my long term, indirect mentors.

      Also: I’m maniacal enough to want Apple to require the use of BOTH Touch ID and a long passcode to be the DEFAULT for all access to an iOS device. If a user wants to minimize this requirement, that’s their choice, don’t blame Apple.]

    2. I fail to see why secure iPhones should piss off totalitarian regimes.

      They can easily ban their import or impose a punitive tariff, confiscate them or intimidate their owners, or stigmatise them using nationalist propaganda.

      Any of those are effortless, compared with trying to regulate a company that stood up to its own government’s attempts to breach personal security, or with trying to control smuggling and the black market.

      Meanwhile the ruling class will continue to enjoy their own bejewelled iPhones encased in Black Rhino hide.

      1. I never want to get into a war of words with you because you’d win! But I will point out that the banning you mentioned would be one of the pissed off responses of such countries. Being banned in China is NOT one of Apple’s objectives. But clearly, Apple is putting human rights as a higher priority than making Chinese totalitarians happy.

        I’m glad you brought up the black market. The Chinese government must have the black market in mind every moment of the day. That’s one way the Chinese populace assert themselves within that regime. The government knows it’s going to happen.

        Oh and you left out the ivory Home button on their bejewelled iPhones encased in Black Rhino hide.

        Every day I thank myself for being a being of simplicity and utility. I don’t comprehend the need for power over others or bling. I have my Macs instead and my friends. 😉

        1. Derrick,
          I always look forward to and read your posts with gleeful anticipation of reading a breath of fresh air and sense, among otherwise dulling posts seen here often.

    3. At the risk of sounding paranoid, DC, all governments in all of its forms pose a risk of excessive levels of surveillance and control/censorship. It is the nature of governments, including representative/democratic models, to attempt to control to excess and this is exacerbated by terrorist events, such as 9/11. In such cases, politicians find is safer and easier to err on the side of too much surveillance and control so that no one can blame a future incident on them…that they did not do enough to protect the citizens. This is a mistake – an understandable mistake, but a mistake nonetheless. And the citizens of this country were far too willing to sacrifice essential rights and freedoms for illusory safety.

  2. Wow this is going to come to a shock to one nation that human beings exist in other countries, some of them part of the free and civilized world. Not too much of a shock though, they already know how to circumvent human rights and could certainly extract a pass code at their Guantanamo on the Bay Resort.

    For real protection, Apple needs to build a “kill” switch and/or feature for their iphones so that humans can be protected from those who have no regards for human rights.

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