MOSCOW, September 23 (RIA Novosti) – A St. Petersburg city lawmaker known for his conservative views cautioned Russian officials Monday against using Apple’s new iPhone until there is proof that the advanced technology is safe from US spying.
Vitaly Milonov, who helped mastermind Russia’s controversial legislation against the promotion of homosexuality to minors, said he planned to ask Russia’s Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information (FAPSI) to find out whether there is a guarantee that “the [iPhone] 5S fingerprints will not appear in the US special services database.” (FAPSI, once responsible for communications security and signals intelligence, was disbanded 10 years ago and its functions were reassigned to other agencies; it was not immediately clear whether Milonov in fact intends to appeal to one of its successors.)
“If it turns out that there is no guarantee against the theft of fingerprints, then the use of the 5S could be restricted for state officials at work,” Milonov wrote on Twitter.
Apple's new iPhone allows users to register their fingerprints on their device as a security measure to enable them to unlock it. The US tech giant said earlier this month that “information about the fingerprint is stored on the device and not uploaded to company networks – meaning it wouldn’t be in data batches that may be sent to or collected by US intelligence agencies under court orders,” according to Bloomberg.
A group of German hackers claimed to have found a way to dupe the iPhone fingerprint scanner on Sunday, just two days after the new technology was unveiled. The hackers said that fake fingerprints can be made with “materials that can be found in almost every household.”
Updated three hours after posting with FAPSI clarification and minor edits throughout.