Apple iPhone X unlocked by work colleague
Occurred: December 2017
A Chinese woman working in Nanjing claimed a work colleague had been able to get into two of her new iPhone X smartphones, highlighting security issues with Apple's much-touted Face ID authentication system.
The woman, identified only by her surname Yan, told the Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation that despite activating and configuring each phone’s facial recognition software, her work colleague was able to get into both devices on every attempt.
Some people reckoned the incident pointed to programmer bias. CEO of marketing company V3 Inbound TC Ivy said, 'Devices can't be biased, but if the creators don't account for their own biases it shows up in things like Asian women being indistinguishable to iPhones and black hands not triggering sensors in soap machines.'
Apple had insisted that the probability of a random person accessing someone else’s iPhone X using the Face ID passcode is 1 in 1 million. The technology company offered the woman a second refund.
Sector: Consumer goods
Purpose: Strengthen security
Technology: Facial recognition
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Bias/discrimination - race; Security; Privacy
Published: August 2023