Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

I trust Apple's security team to have implemented this in a way that preserves safety and privacy. Apple have shown themselves to be very good at that.

That said, I find Face ID extraordinarily troubling, because it normalizes the idea that your phone actively scans your facial features during use. Just like carrying around an always-on pocket beacon became part of the 'new normal' with the introduction of the smartphone, a phone that looks back at you during use will become part of the new normal, too.

When you combine this with business models that rely not just on advertising, but on promises to investors around novelty in advertising, and machine learning that has proven extremely effective at provoking user engagement, what you end up with is a mobile sensor that can read second-by-second facial expressions and adjust what is being shown in real time with great sophistication. All that's required is for a company to close the loop between facial sensor and server.

Apple is unlikely to be this company. But Google, Facebook and Amazon are. What I anticipate is the next generation of Home and Echo to have cameras (Amazon is already moving in this direction), along with whatever piece of hardware Facebook produces. The idea of devices that look back at you will gain acceptance, just like always-listening voice assistants have gained acceptance. All of these will become input sources to learning algorithms.

What is already an incredibly potent toolchain for political manipulation will become even more powerful, with no oversight, accountability, or even much understanding by those who built it on the way it can be profitably used and misused. Its effects will be field-tested in democratic elections that affect the lives of billions.

This is what Zeynep Tufekci has called the architecture for networked fascism, and by manufacturing a mass-market device with active facial scanning, with the best of intentions, Apple has moved us a big step further along this dismal road.




I was going to say that the way to avoid this eventuality is to insist that any competing system have the same granularity of permissions and compartmentalization that it presumably will on iOS - but then I realized that, naturally, the very same applications that stand to use this technology in the creepiest ways will also add user-facing features to encourage the granting of these permissions.

So Facebook will add its own spin on animoji, requiring full face-tracking permissions - and then begin quietly mapping emotional response to every timeline entry.


Yep - as happened with microphones. 'Enable microphone to call your friends - and to let us listen in background for ultrasound advertisement ids form nearby televisions'.


Just because apple did it better, doesn't mean they did it first or enabled it. Android has had face unlock for years and the S8 added 'iris unlock' also. They all have problems, since flat images defeat them compared to this more advanced version, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be improved later.

The tech is out of bag and apple not doing it would just delay it by a few years. Managing a world where microphones and worse are everywhere and are being used by autocracy is how we should be acting going forward. Accepting that this is the world and dealing with the changes should be the focus, not trying to prevent tech that will be created whether or not some people like it.

edit: I do agree with your tweet about how it changes social norms although.


My point is very much about normalizing the use of this technology, not denying its existence or claiming that Apple invented it.

We've been able to bug houses for years, but only recently did Google and Amazon normalize it by selling an always-on network-connected microphone (and now camera) as a consumer product.


Samsung already did face unlock in a very insecure and unusable way. They are guaranteed to continue to try to improve it and guaranteed to make those versions insecure as well.

Apple built it with secure enclave, so they are actively protecting your privacy.


Why is this downvoted? Is there a particular part or aspect of it that you've deemed not appropriate?




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: