12 Questions Sen. Franken Has About Your New iPhone
- Blog Post by: James Lileks
- September 20, 2013 - 12:36 PM
That's the proper headline format, right? A number, which promises an easy-to-read list, and the word "your" even though 99.75% of anyone who looks at this probably doesn't have the new iPhone yet. Anyway:
Sen. Franken has sent a letter to Apple with questions about the new fingerprint scanner.
If you don’t tell anyone your password, no one will know what it is. If someone hacks your password, you can change it—as many times as you want. You can’t change your fingerprints. You have only ten of them. And you leave them on everything you touch; they are definitely not a secret,” he said.
In case you missed it: someone on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law said “if you don’t tell anyone your password, no one will know what it is.”
Even if someone “gets your fingerprint,” it doesn’t mean they can use it to activate the phone and romp through all your delicious private data. You can’t lift it with tape like a CSI ep and voila, you’re in! The letter continues:
Let me put it this way: if hackers get a hold of your thumbprint, they could use it to identify and impersonate you for the rest of your life.
And if they could get a hold of your DNA, they could reverse-engineer a clone that could go to the bank and clear out your money. The full letter is here; some of the questions are intriguing, such as whether the data is backed up to the computer you use to sync the device. But even if someone got that, they couldn't use it on anything else, because it's not a fingerprint. A WSJ article on the technology, complete with helpful facts, is here. This bears noting:
Apple customers who wish the use Touch ID also have to create a passcode as a backup. Only that passcode (not a finger) can unlock the phone if the phone is rebooted or hasn’t been unlocked for 48 hours. This feature is meant to block hackers from stalling for time as they try to find a way to circumvent the fingerprint scanner.
If you lose your phone, brick it remotely. Ta-da. That said, there are questions about whether you can be forced by The Authorities to give up your fingerprint, and I think it’s far more likely that the government will decide that it is. Personally, I want 3rd party apps to use the thing. Passwords are the bane of modern life.
SCIENCE! Stand by for the inevitable debunking. Meanwhile, the quote of the day: "We can only conclude that the biological entities originated from space.” Read the piece to see what they mean. Note: they mean exactly what it says. Now, let’s go to the enlightening comments:
I wonder how all the religious people will cope if they prove that these are extra terrestrial life forms ?
I suppose they will just widen the goal posts yet again in the face of another scientific discovery. And then they will start to argue over which religion these creatures belong to , it will eventually lead to world war and the rise of the machine !!
Thank you for playing.
TITANIC NEWS Construction of the Titanic replica proceeds apace, according to the NYT:
The 9.3-metre wooden model was put through propulsion and power testing in a 300-metre tank in Hamburg earlier this month, ahead of the ship’s construction in China.
Utterly underwhelming pictures here. Let’s go to the comments!
Shame they couldn't think of a better name for it........
Just enough trailing periods, eh? One less and the effect would be utterly spoiled. What is the intended effect, you ask? Why, the author is pausing for a wry smile while everyone savors the remark. Or, it’s one of the passive ways internet mumblers build in self-deprecation to a remark they suspect adds nothing to the sum total of human knowledge or experience. Seriously, it’s a shake they couldn’t call it something else? The entire point of the effort is the reconstruction of the TITANIC. What else are you going to call it? SCHMITANIC?
VIDEO Finally, for Friday: if this was your week, be glad it's over. If it wasn't, there's always next week.
© 2014 Star Tribune