Apple Responds to Senator's Request for Info on Face ID Privacy and Security

Shortly after the iPhone X was unveiled, United States Senator Al Franken, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook to ask several questions about the security and the privacy of Face ID.

Franken asked Apple to address his questions by October 13, 2017, which Apple did through a letter sent by Cynthia Hogan, the company's Vice President for Public Policy in the Americas.

faceidscaniphonex
In the letter, Hogan highlights its recent Face ID security paper and Face ID support document, which outline how Apple protects customer privacy and keeps customer data secure.

She also addresses several of Franken's questions, reiterating much of the information that's in the two documents and that's been previously published about Face ID. One of Franken's questions, for example, concerned how Face ID was trained, with Apple's response below:

The accessibility of the product to people of diverse races and ethnicities was very important to us. Face ID uses facial matching neural networks that we developed using over a billion images, including IR and depth images collected in studies conducted with the participants' informed consent.

We worked with participants from around the world to include a representative group of people accounting for gender, age, ethnicity, and other factors. We augmented studies as needed to provide a high degree of accuracy for a diverse range of users. In addition, a neural network that is trained to spot and resist spoofing defends against attempts to unlock your phone with photos or masks.

Hogan ends the letter with an offer to provide Senator Franken with briefings on Apple products should additional information be required.

Following his receipt of the letter, Franken today issued a statement where he said he appreciates Apple's willingness to provide information on Face ID.

All the time, we learn about and actually experience new technologies and innovations that just a few years back were difficult to even imagine. While these developments are often great for families, businesses, and our economy, they also raise important questions about how we protect what I believe are among the most pressing issues facing consumers: privacy and security.

I appreciate Apple's willingness to engage with my office on these issues, and I'm glad to see the steps that the company has taken to address consumer privacy and security concerns.

I plan to follow up with Apple to find out more about how it plans to protect the data of customers who decide to use the latest generation of iPhone's facial recognition technology.

In addition to offering up a Face ID white paper and detailed support document, Apple has also provided information on Face ID through a series of interviews software engineering chief Craig Federighi did with various media sites.

Face ID will be available to consumers starting on November 3, the official launch date for the iPhone X. Apple plans to begin accepting pre-orders for the iPhone X on October 27.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

darklyt Avatar
86 months ago
Extremely disheartening that you read an article with a mature correspondence between a company and a politician who is on a committee concerning the very nature of the company's technology and you get this foolishness in the comments immediately.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kaibelf Avatar
86 months ago
Apple’s letter (short version):

Dear Al Franken,

Read the material.

Love,
Apple
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
skywalkerr69 Avatar
86 months ago
Al Franken is a total waste of Senate resources.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DeepIn2U Avatar
86 months ago
This is how customer relations and public relations SHOULD respond to outside inquiries of products, services and development.

Well done Apple
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
seatton Avatar
86 months ago
Why doesn't Al Franken have concerns about new Apple Watch band colors?
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
harrisondavies Avatar
86 months ago
Another politician deseperate to justify his paycheque.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 17

Troubling iOS 17.5 Bug Reportedly Resurfacing Old Deleted Photos

Wednesday May 15, 2024 5:29 am PDT by
There are concerning reports on Reddit that Apple's latest iOS 17.5 update has introduced a bug that causes old photos that were deleted – in some cases years ago – to reappear in users' photo libraries. After updating their iPhone, one user said they were shocked to find old NSFW photos that they deleted in 2021 suddenly showing up in photos marked as recently uploaded to iCloud. Other...
General Apps Messages

iMessage Down for Some Users [Update: Service Restored]

Thursday May 16, 2024 3:00 pm PDT by
The iMessage service that Apple users to send messages to one another appears to be down for some users, and messages are failing to go out or are taking an extra long time to send. There are numerous reports about the issue on social networks and a spike of outage reports on Down Detector, but Apple's System Status page is not yet reporting an outage. Update: Apple's status page says...
CarPlay Sound Recognition

Apple Previews Three New CarPlay Features Coming With iOS 18

Wednesday May 15, 2024 9:18 am PDT by
Apple today previewed new accessibility features coming with iOS 18 later this year, and this includes some new options for CarPlay. Apple highlighted three new features coming to CarPlay: Voice Control: This feature will allow users to navigate CarPlay and control apps with just their voice. Color Filters: This feature will make the CarPlay interface visually easier to use for...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With the New M4 OLED iPad Pro

Wednesday May 15, 2024 10:40 am PDT by
Today is the official launch day of the new iPad Pro models, and these updated tablets mark the biggest feature and design refresh that we've seen for the iPad Pro in several years. We picked up one of the new 13-inch models to check out everything new. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. When it comes to design, Apple is still offering 11-inch and 13-inch size options ...
iphone 15 pro max vs iphone 16 pro max

iPhone 16 Pro Max Looks This Much Bigger Beside iPhone 15 Pro Max

Thursday May 16, 2024 4:51 am PDT by
This year's upcoming iPhone 16 Pro Max is expected to get a boost in overall size from 6.7-inches to 6.9-inches, and a new image gives us a good idea of how the current iPhone 15 Pro Max compares to what could be Apple's largest ever iPhone. The image above, posted on X by ZONEofTECH, shows a dummy model representing the ‌iPhone 16 Pro‌ Max alongside an actual iPhone 15 Pro Max. Dummy...
Delta Hands On Feature

iPhone Emulators on the App Store: Game Boy, N64, PS1, PSP, and More

Thursday May 16, 2024 12:45 pm PDT by
In April, Apple updated its guidelines to allow retro game emulators on the App Store, and several popular emulators have already been released. The emulators released so far allow iPhone users to play games released for older consoles from Nintendo, Sony, SEGA, Atari, and others. A list of some popular emulators available on the App Store so far follows. Released Delta Delta is...