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Apple is sharing your face with apps, and you should be worried

Posted on December 2nd, 2017 at 20:11 by John Sinteur in category: News -- Write a comment


Less noticed was how the iPhone lets other apps now tap into two eerie views from the so-called TrueDepth camera. There’s a wireframe representation of your face and a live read-out of 52 unique micro-movements in your eyelids, mouth and other features. Apps can store that data on their own computers.

To see for yourself, use an iPhone X to download an app called MeasureKit. It exposes the face data Apple makes available. The app’s maker, Rinat Khanov, tells me he’s already planning to add a feature that lets you export a model of your face so you can 3D print a mini-me.

“Holy cow, why is this data available to any developer that just agrees to a bunch of contracts?” said Fatemeh Khatibloo, an analyst at Forrester Research.

Being careful is in Apple’s DNA, and it has been slow in opening home and health data to outsiders. But it also views the face camera as a differentiator, helping position Apple as a leader in artificial intelligence and augmented reality.

Apple put some important limits on apps. It requires “that developers ask a user’s permission before accessing the camera, and that apps must explain how and where this data will be used,” Apple’s Neumayr said.

And Apple’s rules say developers can’t sell face data, use it to identify anonymous people or use it for advertising. They’re also required to have privacy policies.

And last but not least, they have to pinky-swear not to lie about this.

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