Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 11th Sep 2013 22:16 UTC

Apple's new iPhone 5S, which comes with a fingerprint scanner, won't store actual images of users' fingerprints on the device, a company spokesman confirmed Wednesday, a decision that could ease concerns from privacy hawks.

Rather, Apple's new Touch ID system only stores "fingerprint data", which remains encrypted within the iPhone's processor, a company representative said Wednesday. The phone then uses the digital signature to unlock itself or make purchases in Apple's iTunes, iBooks or App stores.

In practice, this means that even if someone cracked an iPhone's encrypted chip, they likely wouldn't be able to reverse engineer someone's fingerprint.

This seems relatively safe - but then again, only if you trust that government agencies don't have some sort of backdoor access anyway. This used to be tinfoil hat stuff, but those days are long gone.

I dislike the characterisation of privacy "hawks", though. It reminds me of how warmongering politicians in Washington are referred to as 'hawks", and at least in my view, it has a very negative connotation.

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RE[2]: Comment by Drumhellar
by jared_wilkes on Thu 12th Sep 2013 02:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Drumhellar"
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I agree with Thom, the word used in this context implies that "Apple would never do such a thing as compromize your privacy".

I see no such context. The context here is: a privacy hawk may never be satisfied with any answers provided for an enabling technology that could be abused. If apple did this right, those privacy hawks may be somewhat more satisfied. In fact, using "hawk" specifically implies that if everyone else is blinded into believing everything is okay, you still have a hawk who is looking out for you... can that hawk even be satisfied with this design?

Thom's point is that to him a "hawk" must be a whacko militant and someone who is "hawkish" is not inherently a whacko, conspiracist, nutjob militant. However, what Thom doesn't realize is that War Hawks are often widely respected — even by those who oppose them — and that hawk is applied to many policies and with good regard. (Depending on your point of view.) For many, hawk is not negative. And for most, they appreciate that the "hawk" term applies to vehemence, sincerity, watchfulness, steadfastness — not anything particularly negative whether or not they agree with the perspective of the "hawk."

Edited 2013-09-12 02:48 UTC

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