Apple is sharing your face with applications, and you should be worried – tech2.org

Apple is sharing your face with applications, and you should be worried



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Poop that mimics your facial expressions was just the beginning.

Hit the fan when the facial mapping technology that drives the "Animoji" cheesy of the iPhone X begins to be used for more creepy purposes. And Apple has just started to share your face with many applications.

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iPhone X face ID hacked with mask

A Vietnamese cyber security firm has shown how apparently cheated to the software of identification of facial recognition of Apple in his new iPhone X using a mask made with a 3D printer, silicone and paper tape.

Beyond a photo, the front sensors of the iPhone X. scan 30,000 points to make a 3D model of your face. This is how the iPhone X unlocks and makes animations that once required a Hollywood studio.

Now that a phone can scan your cup, what else could apps want to do with it? They could track your expressions to judge if you are depressed. They could guess their gender, race and even baduality. You can combine your face with other data to watch it in stores or walking down the street.

Applications are still not doing most of these things. But is Apple doing enough to stop it? After pressuring executives this week, Apple made at least one change, retroactively requiring an application to take advantage of facial data to publish a privacy policy.

"We take privacy and security very seriously," said Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr. "This commitment is reflected in the strong protections we have built around Face ID data, protecting them with Secure Enclave on iPhone X, as well as many other technical protections that we have built into iOS."

In fact, Apple – which makes most of its money selling us hardware, not selling our data, may be our best defense against a future explosion in facial recognition. But I also believe that Apple hastened to share face maps with application developers who may not share their commitment, and is not being paranoid enough about the minefield they just entered.

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"I think we should be pretty worried," said Jay Stanley, a policy badyst with the American Civil Liberties Union. "The chances of us seeing damage to the facial data are quite high, if not today, soon, if not in Apple, then in Android."

  The MeasureKit application shows the metal structure model and other facial data that the iPhone X. opens for developers.
The MeasureKit application shows the metal structure model and other facial data that the iPhone X opens to developers. Photo: Jhaan Elker / The Washington Post

His face is open for business

The technology of Apple's face sets some good background, and some bad. He earned praise for the storage of the facial data he uses to unlock the iPhone X securely on the phone, instead of sending it to his servers over the Internet.

Less noticeable was how the iPhone allows other applications to take advantage of two phantom visions called the TrueDepth camera. There is a representation of his face in the form of wire and a live reading of 52 unique micro-movements in his eyelids, mouth and other features. Applications can store that data on their own computers.

To see it yourself, use an iPhone X to download an application called MeasureKit. It exposes the facial data that Apple makes available. The application's manufacturer, Rinat Khanov, tells me that he already plans to add a function that allows him to export a model of his face so that he can print a mini-me in 3D.

"Santa cow, why is this information available to any developer? That only accepts a lot of contracts?" Said Fatemeh Khatibloo, an badyst at Forrester Research.

Be careful in Apple's DNA, and have been slow in opening up information about home and health to outsiders. But he also sees the front camera as a differentiator, helping to position Apple as a leader in artificial intelligence and augmented reality.

Apple put some important limits on applications. It requires "that developers request permission from a user before accessing the camera, and that applications explain how and where this data will be used," said Apple's Neumayr.

And Apple's rules say that developers can not sell facial data, use it to identify anonymous people or use it for advertising. They are also required to have privacy policies.

"These are all very positive steps," said Clare Garvey, badociate of the Center for Privacy and Technology at Georgetown University.

Privacy holes

Still, it was not like that. It's hard for me to find holes in Apple's protections.

The maker of the MeasureKit app told me that he was not feeling much additional scrutiny from Apple to access the facial data.

"There were no additional terms or contracts, the process is quite regular too, or at least it seems to be, on our part," Khanov said. When I noticed that his application did not have a privacy policy, Khanov said that Apple did not require it because he was not taking facial data from the phone.

After asking Apple about this, he called Khanov and told him to publish a privacy policy.

"They said they noticed an error and this should be fixed immediately," Khanov said. "I wish Apple was more specific in its application review guidelines."

The biggest concern: "How realistic is it to expect Apple to properly control this information?" Garvey from Georgetown asked. Apple could detect violations of large applications like Facebook, but what about millions of millions smaller?

Apple has not said how many applications it has thrown out of its store for privacy reasons.

Then there is a problem with permission. Applications are supposed to clarify why they are accessing your face and seek a "conspicuous consent", according to Apple's policies. But when it's time to touch Accept, a pop-up window appears asking to "access the camera." It does not say: "HEY, NOW I'M GOING TO ASSEMBLE YOUR EVERY TWITCH".

The iPhone configuration does not distinguish between the rear camera and all the front-facing sensors. Once you give it permission, an active application still has access to your face until you delete it or delve into the advanced settings. There is no option that says: "Only for the next five minutes."

Overwhelming people with notifications and elections is a concern, but the face seems a sufficiently new and sensitive source of data that deserves special permission. Unlike a portable webcam, it is difficult to place a privacy tag on the front of the iPhone X. Without a fingerprint reader, it is the main mechanism to unlock the thing.

Android phones have had facial unlocking features for years, but most have not offered 3D face maps like the iPhone. Like iOS, Android does not distinguish between front and back cameras. The Google Play Store does not prohibit applications from using the front camera to market or build databases, as long as they ask for permission.

The value of his face

Facial detection can, of course, be used for good and bad. Warby Parker, the provider of online glbades, uses it to place frames on faces, and a Snapchat demo uses it to paint virtually on his face. Companies have promoted face technology as a distracted driving solution, or a way to detect pain in children who have trouble expressing how they feel.

It is unclear how Apple's TrueDepth data could change the types of conclusions that software can extract people. But after years of covering technology, I learned a lot: given the opportunity to be scary, someone will take it.

Using artificial intelligence, facial data "can tell an application developer much more than the human eye can see," said Khatibloo of Forrester. For example, he notes that researchers recently used AI to more accurately determine people's baduality only from regular photographs. That study had limitations, but even so "technology is going to take a much faster jump than consumers and regulators will realize," Khatibloo said.

Our faces are already valuable. Half of all American adults have their images stored in at least one database that police can search, usually with few restrictions.

Facebook and Google use artificial intelligence to identify faces in images that we upload in their photographic services. Facebook has a patent to deliver content based on emotion, and in 2016, Apple bought a start-up called Emotient that specializes in detecting emotions.

Using regular cameras, companies like Kairos create software to identify gender, ethnicity, and age as well as people's feelings. In the past 12 months, Kairos said he has read 250 million faces for customers looking to improve business and products.

The launch of Apple's iPhone X was "the paramount cry of this new industry, because it democratized the idea that facial recognition exists and works," said Kairos CEO Brian Brackeen. Your company gets the consent of volunteers whose faces you read, or even pay them, but said the field is open. "What rights do people have? Are they being compensated in some way for the valuable information they share?" I ask.

What keeps the privacy advocates awake is that the iPhone X will make the facial scan look normal. Will the manufacturers of other phones, security cameras or drones be as careful as Apple? We do not want to build a future in which we are insensitive to a form of surveillance that goes way beyond what we have known before.

You only have one face, so we better not ruin this.

Washington Post

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