19:23 GMT05 March 2021
Listen Live
    Get short URL

    Apple this week unveiled the iPhone X, a US$999 gadget that will allow users to unlock it using facial recognition technology. An expert told Sputnik how vulnerable the technology is to hacking.

    Commenting on the launch of the new iPhone X, an expert in information security warned of hacking dangers, telling Sputnik "nothing is foolproof" when it comes to technology. 

    Choong-Fook Fong, CEO of LGMS, a professional information security service firm, said there had always been concerns about the use of facial recognition technology in consumer products.

    One of the concerns is "transferring how we look into unique data" when using facial recognition.

    "How are we going to protect that unique data? It can be obtained by the criminals and people can impersonate you by obtaining that data," explained Mr. Fong, who specializes in computer crime investigation, penetration testing and information security compliance.

    "Nothing is foolproof. There are so many ways to bypass or hack facial recognition. People will be using photographs of the real person or do make up."

    Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the new iPhone X at the Steve Jobs Theater on the new Apple campus, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, in Cupertino, California.
    © AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez
    Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the new iPhone X at the Steve Jobs Theater on the new Apple campus, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, in Cupertino, California.

    He said he hoped the designers would make it more secure by building in an ability to spot faces which have been "machine learned."

    "One of the biggest concerns is whether facial recognition data is going to be shared with the phone manufacturer or stored locally on the phone? If it is stored locally on the phone what kind of protection is the manufacturer putting in place to protect that data? But if that data is sent back to the manufacturer we have much greater concerns. There are way too many possibilities the manufacturer can use that data for," Mr. Fong told Sputnik.

    He said facial recognition was spreading to other areas, such as home security and even to the hospitality industry.

    "In China a lot of restaurants are using facial recognition to identify customers. They are using them to predict the emotion of the customers. Facial recognition is a very good technology but privacy is a major concern," he told Sputnik.

    Mr. Fong said he understood law enforcement was already using facial recognition to identify criminals and terrorists.

    The iPhone X was described by Apple CEO Tim Cook as "the biggest leap forward since the original iPhone". But many social media users have mocked the facial recognition technology with memes showing images of girls with and without makeup or badly beaten up boxers and film stars.


    Best Reactions to Apple iPhone X Face ID Feature
    The Golden Apple: Thousand Dollar iPhone X Unveiled to the Public
    Smile, Get Fried Chicken: China KFC Lets You Pay With Facial-Recognition Tech
    Pictures of You: UK Gov't Goes Ahead With Shady $6Mln Facial Recognition Tech
    data, facial recognition, hacking, technology, privacy, iPhone X, Apple, Tim Cook, China, US, California
    Community standardsDiscussion