Franken questions whether Apple could be compelled to give up fingerprint data

United States Senator Al Franken has some concerns about Apple's new fingerprint reader on the iPhone 5S. Apple touts fingerprints as "one of the best passwords in the world." However, Franken says he has reasons to believe that a fingerprint is not a good password. Franken is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law.

Franken wrote a letter to Apple CEO Tim cook on September 19 writing in part, "Passwords are secret and dynamic; fingerprints are public and permanent. If you don't tell anyone your password, no one will know what it is. If someone hacks your password, you can change it—as many times as you want. You can't change your fingerprints. You have only ten of them. And you leave them on everything you touch; they are definitely not a secret. What's more, a password doesn't uniquely identify its owner—a fingerprint does. Let me put it this way: if hackers get a hold of your thumbprint, they could use it to identify and impersonate you for the rest of your life."

Senator Al Franken

In his letter, Franken asked Apple to answer 12 different questions about Apple's fingerprint reader technology. Franken wants to know if it's possible for third parties to convert locally stored fingerprint data into a digital or visual format. He also wants to know if it's possible to extract fingerprint data from the iPhone and whether that would require physical access or could be accomplished remotely.

Franken is asking Apple to define if it considers fingerprint data to be the "contents" of communications, customer, or subscriber records. Franken also wants to know how Apple services such as iTunes and the App Store interact with Touch ID and what information is collected by those apps from the Touch ID system.
You can read all of Senator Franken's questions Apple at the source link below.


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