Apple fingerprint tech raises 'privacy questions'

Apple boss Tom Cook and iPhone Senator Al Franken wants answers from Apple boss Tim Cook (pictured) within a month

Related Stories

A senior US senator believes the fingerprint recognition technology featured in Apple's new iPhone 5S raises "substantial privacy questions".

Senator Al Franken, chairman of the influential Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, has written to Apple boss Tim Cook explaining his security concerns.

After stealing someone's thumbprint, hackers could "impersonate you for the rest of your life," he wrote.

Apple has yet to comment on the letter.

Mr Franken wants answers to a number of questions, such as:

  • whether the fingerprint data stored locally on the mobile phone chip in encrypted form could ever be stolen and converted into digital or visual form that would be usable by hackers or fraudsters
  • whether the iPhone 5S transmits any diagnostic information about the Touch ID system back to Apple or any third parties
  • how well customer fingerprint data will be protected and kept private
  • the exact legal status of such fingerprint data.

Mr Franken has asked Apple to answer his questions within a month of receiving his letter.

Meanwhile, hackers are gearing up to try to crack Apple's Touch ID technology.

The website istouchidhackedyet.com, set up by Nick DePetrillo and Robert Graham, lists a number of people offering rewards - including one for $10,000 from IO Capital, a venture capital company - "to the first person who can reliably and repeatedly break into an iPhone 5S by lifting prints (like from a beer mug)."

Other rewards include a bottle of wine and a book of erotica.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Technology stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

BBC Future

(SPL)

The odd way robots see the world

What bots see is nothing like your vision Read more...

Programmes

  • David RudishaExtra Time Watch

    How Kenyan athlete David Rudisha hopes to improve his 800m world record

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.