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Apple further details new Touch ID fingerprint sensor, notes system is not flawless

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 
One day after Apple introduced the iPhone 5s with embedded Touch ID fingerprint sensor, more details about the new feature's functionality have emerged, including certain failsafes built into the system, as well as limitations that come with any cutting-edge technology.

Touch ID


As noted in Tuesday's iPhone event coverage, Apple is debuting a new biometric authentication and security method in Touch ID, a capacitive fingerprint sensor integrated into the iPhone 5s' home button. While the technology was briefly covered during the presentation, an Apple spokesman elaborated on the tech in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

The person confirmed that Touch ID does not store fingerprint images on-board, nor does the method upload gathered information to off-site servers like iCloud. Instead, encrypted "fingerprint data" is placed in a secure enclave in Apple's A7 SoC, which is used to digitally verify users who want to gain access to the phone and its features.

This setup adds a bit of extra security for the extremely sensitive personal data. Even if a thief or cracker managed to obtain the A7 chip, the replication or reading of a user's fingerprint would be an unlikely scenario.

Also of note is how Apple chose to implement security safeguards and backup systems to go along with the new hardware. First, a user must enter a passcode to initiate the iPhone 5s' biometric capabilities. As a protection against nefarious users trying to bypass the security measure, only this code can be used to unlock a device after it's been rebooted or has been left unlocked for more than 48 hours.

Apple cautions that the Touch ID sensor is not perfect and will give inaccurate readings in some cases, especially when a finger is moist. This is due to the capacitive "image" the sensor array captures. Moisture or other conductive debris on a finger could give false readings.

In addition, Touch ID may have trouble identifying fingers with scarring from surgical procedures or accidents. Simply using another finger solves the problem, but makes the system more cumbersome to use.

It can be speculated that scar tissue may generate a blank reading for the sensor as the module only scans live tissue. Another possibility is that the algorithms used to power the system may simply reject scarred areas as they don't fit with a fingerprint's natural peaks and valleys.

Finally, the Apple representative said that third party apps will not have access to fingerprint data. This may change with later iterations of iOS, though the feature will not be available to developers on rollout.

Further testing is required to pinpoint the exact capabilities and operational functions of the sensor, which will be covered by AppleInsider shortly after the 5s is released on Sept. 20.
post #2 of 65
Oh no. Duck! TouchIDgate alert!!
post #3 of 65
everyone jumping on the NSA bandwagon is getting a bit boring, and it doesn't matter what apple or anyone else says, the paranoid will always think the government is out to get them
post #4 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevinneal View Post

everyone jumping on the NSA bandwagon is getting a bit boring, and it doesn't matter what apple or anyone else says, the paranoid will always think the government is out to get them

Who wouldn't? It's just a matter of time.

Me? I don't care. If you're not doing anything illegal you shouldn't have to worry about them. Is it wrong? Well, yes. But the sad truth is that we are all screwed. World control is coming. That is not in question. It's just a matter of time. Just a matter of time...
post #5 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevinneal View Post

everyone jumping on the NSA bandwagon is getting a bit boring, and it doesn't matter what apple or anyone else says, the paranoid will always think the government is out to get them

In the case of this government it is out to get you.
post #6 of 65

for heavin's sake ... got a drivers license? then your thumbprint is already in the NSA data base. and all my fingers' prints are. if you were ever arrested or even involved in an investigation, so are yours.

 

sorry, children. that horse left the barn decades ago.

post #7 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by eckergus View Post

Who wouldn't? It's just a matter of time.

Me? I don't care. If you're not doing anything illegal you shouldn't have to worry about them. Is it wrong? Well, yes. But the sad truth is that we are all screwed. World control is coming. That is not in question. It's just a matter of time. Just a matter of time...

Unfortunately, there are too many people like you out there! I'm as much worried about the private companies and financial institutions and their collection and use and abuse of our personal data, and the governments access to it.
post #8 of 65
No access for developers? It has so much potential though ...
post #9 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by eckergus View Post

Who wouldn't? It's just a matter of time.

Me? I don't care. If you're not doing anything illegal you shouldn't have to worry about them.
That attitude is the biggest problem we have right now in this country.
Quote:
Is it wrong? Well, yes. But the sad truth is that we are all screwed.
If it is wrong then shouldn't we do something about it? We can start by not electing democrats and republicans that don't respect the constitution. In this case the democrats are especially evil as they are hell bent on repressing any sort of uprising against their policies.
Quote:
World control is coming. That is not in question. It's just a matter of time. Just a matter of time...

When you come to a fork in the river it is up to you to make a choice. In that regard we can either account or reject the policies of our current government. Reject the policies and the river will be filled with rapids and other dangers, but we have weathers such social problems before. We got through the Vietnam era which is possibly the most recent example of the population and the government being out of sync. The only thing we need now is for people to give a damn.
post #10 of 65

seems like for an increasing number of people paranoia is their default state, and every news item is reduced down to a ridiculous conspiracy theory. Its like a wave of mental illness sweeping the world

post #11 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

for heavin's sake ... got a drivers license? then your thumbprint is already in the NSA data base. and all my fingers' prints are. if you were ever arrested or even involved in an investigation, so are yours.

sorry, children. that horse left the barn decades ago.

If you're a legal immigrant into the US (like I am), all ten of your fingers are in the database.
post #12 of 65
The tech media has already prepared articles declaring Touch ID an embarrassing failure, awaiting for it to actually fail to release for publication.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #13 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by eckergus View Post


Who wouldn't? It's just a matter of time.

Me? I don't care. If you're not doing anything illegal you shouldn't have to worry about them. Is it wrong? Well, yes. But the sad truth is that we are all screwed. World control is coming. That is not in question. It's just a matter of time. Just a matter of time...

 

It's the reptilians. Chariots of the Gods, man; they practically own South America.

post #14 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

I'm as much worried about the private companies and financial institutions and their collection and use and abuse of our personal data, and the governments access to it.

You have the right fire your 'private' companies. You don't have that right with your government.
post #15 of 65
Im getting the gold one.
post #16 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post
 

for heavin's sake ... got a drivers license? then your thumbprint is already in the NSA data base. and all my fingers' prints are. if you were ever arrested or even involved in an investigation, so are yours.

 

sorry, children. that horse left the barn decades ago.

 

What is the heck state do you live in the takes your thumbprint for a drivers license? That has to be illegal. That's insane. I wouldn't get a drivers license if I had to do that.

 

And all this NSA stuff is just BS. It's never going to leave the phone. Too many developers will dig deep into this phone and Apple has too much to lose if they aren't isolating/encrypting the fingerprint on the phone and the developers find out.

If people are really that paranoid they shouldn't have a phone with a webcam on the front. The government will have your picture and track your phone and photoshop your face doing illegal things and lock you up with no trial forever. I mean, come on. This isn't Europe.

post #17 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by reydn View Post

No access for developers? It has so much potential though ...

 

I agree, it definitely does have potential, however direct access may not be necessary if Apple implements it in the KeyChain services (iOS and iCloud). The system may allow the user to enter the KeyChain password (fingerprint) for access to 3rd party services and web sites that make use of the services bypassing the need to remember every password.

Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
Reply
post #18 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by reydn View Post

No access for developers? It has so much potential though ...
Developers will have access to the APIs that provide fingerprint authentication services. Apps will not and should not have access to the actual fingerprint data. No need.
post #19 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

The tech media has already prepared articles declaring Touch ID an embarrassing failure, awaiting for it to actually fail to release for publication.
Don't believe you. Sources or it's BS.
post #20 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by NexusPhan View Post

What is the heck state do you live in the takes your thumbprint for a drivers license? That has to be illegal. That's insane. I wouldn't get a drivers license if I had to do that.

And all this NSA stuff is just BS. It's never going to leave the phone. Too many developers will dig deep into this phone and Apple has too much to lose if they aren't isolating/encrypting the fingerprint on the phone and the developers find out.
If people are really that paranoid they shouldn't have a phone with a webcam on the front. The government will have your picture and track your phone and photoshop your face doing illegal things and lock you up with no trial forever. I mean, come on. This isn't Europe.
I must explain this again: the actual fingerprint is not stored, only a hash value that is calculated from the print. This computation is a one way operation. Thus the hash cannot be used to derive the original fingerprint. When you later scan your finger, the same calculation is performed and the two hashes are compared. As well, since this scans multiple layers, a lifted print from a glass or other surface will not suffice to authenticate.
No one is getting your fingerprint from this phone; maybe other places, but not the phone :-)
post #21 of 65

If the sensor ever fails to read your finger print there is a workaround that can be implemented using another appendage.

 

However, this implementation cannot be used by females...

 

There's nothing your wife/girlfriend/partner wouldn't like more than a 6 Plus...
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There's nothing your wife/girlfriend/partner wouldn't like more than a 6 Plus...
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post #22 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by NexusPhan View Post
 

 

What is the heck state do you live in the takes your thumbprint for a drivers license? That has to be illegal. That's insane. I wouldn't get a drivers license if I had to do that.

 

 

People's Republic of California, for one.

post #23 of 65

It was a sad day to read the local news sites harp on and on about the cost compared to some (unspecified) crappy android phone and sweep Apple's hard earned achievements under the carpet as "obvious" and "incremental" updates.

 

Apple's implementation of this technology blows everything else completely out of the water. The way it works in any device orientation and is incorporated into the home button means the technology is basically invisible to the user. It requires no conscious effort. Which means it will get used. Which means everyone benefits. This is design for humans not design for marketing departments.

 

Touch ID eliminates the awkwardness of entering a passcode in a public place where other people can easily look over your shoulder. I almost fell of my bus seat when a drunk passenger prominently held his phone aloft and entered "1337" on the lock screen the other day. How very elite indeed. Android dot-lock screens offer even less security since they broadcast the entire sequence in a convenient visual format. Even if a thief misses that the trail of finger grease could serve as a handy treasure map. What's that...? Your device manufacturer skimped on an oleophobic coating? #Awkward

post #24 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by konqerror View Post
 

 

People's Republic of California, for one.

 

Seriously? That has to be a violation of privacy rights. Where is the ACLU to sue when you need them to sue on an actual real issue.

Of the five (all very blue) states I've lived in I've never even heard of such a thing.

 

Back to the iPhone. I don't want a fingerprint reader. I'd likely never use it. I don't use it on my laptops. Of course it won't be perfect, but I'm sure it will work well enough. But the privacy concern is complete BS if you ask me. It's probably one of the least likely things in today's world to violate your privacy.

post #25 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by denobin View Post


I must explain this again: the actual fingerprint is not stored, only a hash value that is calculated from the print. This computation is a one way operation. Thus the hash cannot be used to derive the original fingerprint.

 

That's incorrect. If you know about hashes, then you know that they are not tolerant to small changes, as you would expect as fingerprints aren't read with 100% accuracy. How fingerprint readers work is that they extract a series of features, for example, where ridges end and split. These features are then aligned and compared to the features in the stored template and scored depending on which ones match.

 

The information between features is discarded so the whole fingerprint image cannot be reconstructed, but the important parts of the fingerprint are stored. Therefore, it's not as "one-way" as you make it to be.

post #26 of 65
Quote:
Apple cautions that the Touch ID sensor is not perfect and will give inaccurate readings in some cases, especially when a finger is moist. 

 

No sweat!

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #27 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by konqerror View Post

People's Republic of California, for one.

Florida, too.
post #28 of 65

I was fingerprinted back in elementary school when the cops visited our school so we could learn about them etc..

post #29 of 65
I suspect the Feds are or will be requiring every state to get a fingerprint when your DL is renewed under rules in the Federal Real ID Act. That's what Georgia blames for their somewhat recent fingerprint requirement.
Edited by Gatorguy - 9/11/13 at 7:14pm
melior diabolus quem scies
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melior diabolus quem scies
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post #30 of 65
You folks who are so paranoid about your data, just remember that this has been going on for decades. THE PUZZLE PALACE (a best seller about the NSA spying on everything and everybody) was written in the mid-eighties! This horse, as another commenter mentioned, is way out of the barn. In fact it's lapped the field a few dozens time and is headed for Oklahoma. Forget about privacy. It hasn't existed for decades. Just be grateful you're not interesting enough for anyone to bother with.
post #31 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by reydn View Post

No access for developers? It has so much potential though ...

No access for developers...YET. Read each word in the sentence and you get the actual information of the story.
Edited by Macky the Macky - 9/11/13 at 7:51pm
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #32 of 65
Dumb a**es! The finger print sensor should have been a build to order option. Now watch some father file a class action law suit against Apple claiming that his daughter was hauling ass from a wild pack of zombies and tried calling to cops while cornered, but the freaking sensor wouldn't pick up her print..
Now the father has to keep his child, who was bitten, in a goddamn cage cause she'e infected, doesn't know him anymore; yet he can't let go.
Great move Tim!
post #33 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3Eleven View Post

I was fingerprinted back in elementary school when the cops visited our school so we could learn about them etc..

Several years back a TV station was doing a story on a new device just acquired by the local police; A new crime-fighting tool that allows the local police to submit fingerprints to a national registry. As part of the story the talking head allowed the police to fingerprint him and send the prints off to the national database.

Well, you can probably guess where this is going. The TV announcer turned out to be wanted in a different jurisdiction and the police arrested him right there on camera. He didn't even get to do his sign off...

I don't much fret about my fingerprints being in a national database because I'm sure they've been there since I enlisted in the military 45 years ago. Of course now they do a DNA test on most people that enter the prison system to compare the DNA against any crime-scene DNA in the database. About a year ago one prisoner's DNA popped up flagged... a closer look at the results indicated it was only a near-match. It seems his brother had left some DNA at a crime scene and had since flew under the radar. So, apparently we are now really "our brother's keeper."

If a person is a good guy, I'm not sure what the concern is, but a whole lot of family members of violent crime victims are happy about how various databases are solving crimes.
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #34 of 65
This fingerprint scanner is another advance in technology.
post #35 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

If the sensor ever fails to read your finger print there is a workaround that can be implemented using another appendage.

However, this implementation cannot be used by females...

Damn, you made me wonder if Mr. Happy was imbued with loops or whirls... 1oyvey.gif
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #36 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtis Hannah View Post

This fingerprint scanner is another advance in technology.

It's not a scanner... NOT.
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #37 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

If you're a legal immigrant into the US (like I am), all ten of your fingers are in the database.

...and yet the media said you voted with your feet???
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #38 of 65
Touch ID is pretty intriguing, but I have some serious reservations about the accuracy of this scanner and the ability to last at least 2 years (enough time to get a new phone) of usage.

I look forward to seeing what the reviewers say after the phone is released.
post #39 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevinneal View Post

everyone jumping on the NSA bandwagon is getting a bit boring, and it doesn't matter what apple or anyone else says, the paranoid will always think the government is out to get them

LOL, "the paranoid". I think you need to have a perspective and history adjustment. How many governments in all of history could truly be trusted?? That's why America's founders set up such a government as ours -- which has multiple "filters" to keep governmental power in check.

It's people like you who are assisting, and even promoting, the eroding away of individual freedom simply by your perspective.

Placing an over-arching faith in government is dangerous. Only God is worthy of such faith and trust.
post #40 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smurfman View Post

Only God is worthy of such faith and trust.

 

And I would recommend even keeping on eye on him, the shifty bugger.

 

;)

There's nothing your wife/girlfriend/partner wouldn't like more than a 6 Plus...
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There's nothing your wife/girlfriend/partner wouldn't like more than a 6 Plus...
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