iPhone X Raises Questions of Security

Co-authored by Pooja Vedam and Jasmine Lee

Picture yourself grabbing your phone, expecting to enter your generic four-digit passcode. Instead, you’re met with the intricately designed 21st century-esque iPhone X, which has been programmed to open itself with a mere glance.

Starting on Oct. 27, Apple, will be releasing a new edition of their now mainstream touchscreen iPhone, priced at $999. Apple has transformed the world of technology, allowing iPhone enthusiasts to now use more than just numbers and fingerprints to unlock their phone with facial recognition software.

Many new features have been added with the release of the iPhone X, including the removal of the home button, wireless charging and, Animoji, a function that has the ability to detect 50 facial muscles and translate it into animated emojis.

At its price, many people, including industrial engineering teacher Ted Shinta, comments on the high price of the iPhone X.

“It looks cool, but it’s very expensive,” Shinta said, “so I think it’s for people that are really Apple fans.”

According to NBC news, the ten-year anniversary is the motivation behind putting the new iPhone X onto the market. The announcement of this new product has prompted many, such as sophomore Tej Nair, to reconsider whether or not their loyalty to Apple still stands with the release of the new iPhone. These uncertainties have fueled many discussions about whether or not facial recognition, specifically, is a secure and trustworthy software.

“I feel like it’s not as revolutionary as Apple’s products when Steve Jobs was the head,” Nair said. “I guess it’s pretty interesting and it’s probably overpriced.”

Sophomore Sophie Ye believes that many of the newly added functions in the iPhone X are unnecessary and that releasing a new iPhone just to showcase their new softwares is pointless. However, she says otherwise for their extravagant designs.

“As far as things go, they’ve done all right,” Ye said. “They’ve defended our privacy in the FBI case. I’m not satisfied with their other things.”

Others have additionally outlined other possibly invasive side effects of the facial recognition software, such as using merely a picture of the user’s face to unlock their phone; this could hold serious moral implications that could invade iPhone X users’ right to privacy because the police could now be able to have possible access to users’ personal information without the consent of the users.

Additionally, under the Fifth Amendment, it is illegal for the police to force one to open their phone through the means of a pin code or lock, but the arrival of facial recognition software has blurred the lines enough so that there are no regulations preventing the police from invading one’s privacy by the means of utilizing their facial features to open a phone. For example, while possible criminals are not legally obligated to give their passcode to the police when first apprehended, since they also have rights to a lawyer, the creation of facial recognition software could be a grey area for their rights. By merely a glimpse of the criminal’s face, the police could immediately access any of the information embedded within the phone, without the criminal’s permission.

This has called into question Apple’s morality, or more specifically, their protection for iPhone users, who desire not just a useful feature such as facial recognition, but also to have their right to privacy maintained. Monta Vista students have also felt uneasy about the safety that Apple doesn’t explicitly provide for their own information within their phone.

“I would try to avoid using facial recognition software, so I don’t think I would feel comfortable using it because I think it’s pretty insecure,” Nair said.

People, like Nair, who opposes the facial recognition feature, would believe that a better way of protecting themselves is through the number or lettering passwords that was originally installed in previous iPhones.

“I think that passwords are just the most secure option for authenticating anything,” Nair said, “and there’s no better way to do it now than we have.”

Industrial technician, Ted Shinta, seems to feels similarly, saying that developing software, such as the new facial recognition software, can “become more and more intrusive”, which provides Shinta with a slightly more uneasy feeling about the software behind it. Shinta continues by claiming that the iPhone X seems cater to “people that are really Apple fans” and thus he also discredits Apple’s ability to reach and expand towards a greater fanbase.

Overall, the community that Apple has created ㅡ while powerful ㅡ has lasted it nearly 10 years long. Ultimately, however, the new steps that Apple is taking to revolutionize technology by integrating facial recognition in the iPhone X may hinder their own ability to successfully expand their business and to reach farther than merely their most dedicated part of the fanbase.