Senator Sends Letter to Tim Cook Over Touch ID Privacy Concerns

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Sep 20, 2013.

  1. MacRumors
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    MacRumors

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    Senator Al Franken (D-MN) has sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook expressing concern over the new Touch ID fingerprint sensor built into the iPhone 5s, which went on sale earlier today.

    In the letter (PDF), the Senator, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, says he is an iPhone owner and is concerned about the use of fingerprints to unlock the device.
    Franken goes on to ask twelve separate questions of Cook, including:

    - If it's possible to convert locally-stored fingerprint data into a format that can be used by third parties.

    - If it's possible to extract and obtain fingerprint data from an iPhone 5s either remotely or with physical access to the device.

    - What diagnostic information the iPhone 5s sends to Apple about the Touch ID system.

    - Whether Apple considers fingerprint data to be the "subscriber information" or "electronic communication transactional records", the "contents" of communications, customer or subscriber records, or a "subscriber number or identity" as defined in the Stored Communications Act, or a "tangible thing" as defined in the USA PATRIOT Act.

    The last group of questions relates to when and if Apple could be required to disclose fingerprint information to U.S. Government law enforcement agencies.

    Apple, for its part, has posted an extensive knowledge base article about the security benefits of the Touch ID system, though it only discloses broad details about how the iPhone 5s stores fingerprint data, but nevertheless, it may answer some of the questions that Senator Franken asked:
    Senator Franken gave Tim Cook and Apple thirty days to answer the questions and, though it is not a subpoena and Apple is not required to respond, the company is likely to cooperate.

    This is not the first time that Senator Franken has interacted with Apple -- in 2011, he asked both Apple and Google to require clear privacy policies for apps sold on their app stores. He also introduced a bill to help protect customer location data.

    Article Link: Senator Sends Letter to Tim Cook Over Touch ID Privacy Concerns
     
  2. Razeus
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    macrumors 601

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    But it's ok, it's Apple. If this was Google collecting this information, you guys would be up in arms.
     
  3. MacIke
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    MacIke

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    Nsa

    I am far more concerned about the NSA and the issue of spying then I am of some company. A company has to actually respond to the customer. Whereas the government does not give a rats ass.
     
  4. JimDeGuz
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    macrumors newbie

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    #4
    My 24 Hour Fitness converted to fingerprint scanning after a 10-digit keypad input which they tell you should be your phone number...sounds like a conspiracy. Tracking your workout is great. Punishment for missing leg day isn't.
     
  5. Superdrive
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    Superdrive

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    #5
    What he really meant: "What are you collecting and how can we get our hands on it?"
     
  6. k1121j, Sep 20, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2013

    k1121j
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    k1121j

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    Give me a break

    Does this guy want to look good or something. If i am not mistaken this is not the first consumer product with fingerprint technology ( example all those laptops out there come to mind) and as far as i can tell Apple has gone further to secure your identity where there device. SOOO get off there back and be logical you silly senator
     
  7. DesterWallaboo
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    DesterWallaboo

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    There are legitimate concerns raised in this letter to Apple I hadn't considered. The possibility that your fingerprint information might simply be available to federal law enforcement under the Patriot Act is rather chilling. I'd like to know the answer to that question before I buy my next iPhone.
     
  8. unplugme71
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    #9
    The government would love this data. Imagine every citizen having their fingerprint added to the database?

    Granted not everyone owns an Apple device, but when other devices start implementing this, it'll be in the homes all across America and beyond.

    I'd like Touch ID to open my car door and house.
     
  9. cgk.emu
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    #10
    "Concerns" or..."hey we could use this..."

    Yeah, go ahead and call me a tin-foil hat type. It shows that you really can't think for yourself.
     
  10. Tiger8
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    yea rite

    now they are concerned about privacy? what about PRISM data?
     
  11. CFreymarc
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    macrumors 68040

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    #12
    If it is "Me, Al Fraken." You can be sure it is self serving. IMO, this whole Touch ID introduction will make or break the whole mass-market bio-metric business.
     
  12. roadbloc
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    roadbloc

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    #13
    Turn it off. Or get a 5C. Or another phone. Its all off to the NSA either way.
     
  13. croooow
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    croooow

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  14. JackieTreehorn
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    #15

    Google has a blatant disregard for privacy, so I would delete the 'if' from the Google sentence.
     
  15. repoman27
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    #16
    I'm pretty sure that if you have physical access to a touchscreen device, there are ways to get the owner's fingerprint data—even if the device lacks a fingerprint scanner.
     
  16. jyen
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    #17
    Meanwhile, hardly anyone has said a thing about Google's face unlock feature which has been out on Android for some time now.
     
  17. DesterWallaboo
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    DesterWallaboo

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    #18
    Not true.
     
  18. HiVolt
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    HiVolt

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    #19
    PC laptops have had fingerprint sensors for years... Why isn't he writing Lenovo, Dell, HP?

    This guy is just "concerned" to get his name in the news with a big name company like Apple and the new phone release, makes it look like he cares for his people...
     
  19. ck2875
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    ck2875

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    #20
    So Apple has to worry about their competitor's cheap/poorly executed attempts at copying their technology?
     
  20. robertjamesm
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    #21
    Touch ID

    Apple should include on their next macbook pro with retina the touch ID sensor on the power key or touchpad.

    :apple:
    I should be the next S Jobs
     
  21. Smith288
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    Smith288

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    #22
    Perhaps Al should have read any number of Apple blogs detailing the workings of the fingerprint technology?

    I can't believe this guy got into congress...
     
  22. jon3543
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    macrumors 6502

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    #23
    Aw, c'mon. His "Mobile Uplink" schtick was pretty funny.
     
  23. HarryPot
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    #24
    From what Apple says, even if the Government asked for it, it would be impossible for Apple to get that information. It is stored in a part of the chip that has no communication to Apple servers, or any other servers for the matter.

    This is what I understood at least.
     
  24. notabadname
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    notabadname

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    #25
    Well, since Apple has made clear it is not collecting the data, and it resides only on the phone's chipset, your point is sort of irrelevant.
     

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