Thoughts on Face ID
Published on September 25, 2017 by Paul Ciano
I got around to watching the Apple September Event keynote. For me, the most salient thing was the replacement of Touch ID with Face ID on the iPhone X.
First off, this:
The only person that should be showing off their face wall is Arya Stark. Otherwise, it’s just creepy. Seeing this image with the phrase your face data being repeated sent me all the wrong feels.
On a more serious note…
If you have been paying attention the past few years, it may have become clear that everything is broken. In this world, I believe it is unwise to have an internet-connected camera continually pointed at your face.
For this reason, one of the first things I do when I get a new computing device is cover the front-facing camera with a small, inconspicuous piece of black tape. We can’t really trust the manufacturers of these devices and the manifold parties they work with or get hacked by. So, it just seems like common sense to cover that thing up until you need it.
When Touch ID came out, I was skeptical, but after using it, I was sold. It was fast, convenient, and if there was ever a situation where I wanted my iOS device to require a password to access its encrypted contents, it was trivial to enforce that behavior (i.e., turn the device off).
Now, Apple has removed this feature from their flagship device and replaced it with a solution that wants to scan your face numerous times a day. At the same time, they have re-engineered iOS to keep Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on, even after users have toggled it off.
Who does this benefit?
If Apple brings Face ID to all of their products, that’s fine, but I hope they decide to bring back Touch ID as another authentication option, once they get the kinks worked out. I do not think this is likely, but I hope I’m wrong.
I am not going to use Face ID, and I don’t think I’m alone.