The Face of the Future
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Are you OK with using your face to unlock your iPhone?

by Andrea Chang and Samantha Masunaga / © 2017, Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


Your passcode can be hacked, but your face is yours and yours alone. That’s the thinking behind Apple’s latest security measure, which is more high-tech and a bit more intimate than anything else on the market.

 With Face ID, owners of the company’s new top-of-the-line iPhone X [can] unlock their phone, pay for products and use mobile apps just by glancing at their device. [According to] Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, “Face ID is the future of how we unlock our smartphones and protect our sensitive information.”



 Biometric technology—which includes face, fingerprint, iris and retina recognition identification systems—has been a hotbed of research this decade. With Apple’s backing, the field just got its most high-profile boost yet and could soon become the industry standard, even if many consumers aren’t quite comfortable with the concept.

 Technologists tout a futuristic experience that is more secure than entering a passcode. They predict the technology could one day be used to unlock cars, withdraw money from ATMs or enter connected homes.

 “You can share your password. You can share your car keys. But you can’t share your biometrics,” said George Avetisov, chief executive of biometric security firm HYPR Corp.

 With Touch ID, Apple’s fingerprint technology, the chance that a random person could unlock your phone with his or her fingerprint is one in 50,000, Apple said; with Face ID, it’s one in one million.

 Both systems store biometric data locally on the device rather than on a centralized server that could be targeted by hackers. That makes biometrics attractive from a privacy and security standpoint, Avetisov said.

 Revenue for the biometrics scan software industry is projected to reach $5.5 billion this year, with estimated growth of 5.2 percent annually for the next five years, according to a report from IBISWorld.



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