No Worries, You Can’t Open The New iPhone 5S With A Severed Finger

iPhone 5, Severed finger

By now we’ve all heard that the brand new iPhone 5s, that hits stores this Friday, will come with a new locking feature called TouchID. Apple’s first soiree into biometrics is designed to protect your phone from anyone but yourself. At first glance it’s a great feature. Some even took to social media to call it a “relationship saver.”

Now perhaps I’ve watched too much Scandal or Burn Notice, but once this feature was announced I started having these strange thoughts. What if you had really sensitive information on your iPhone, you know like top secret spy stuff. Now we all know the NSA can probably look at it anyway, but what if spies came and wanted to get in your iPhone 5. What if the only way to do it was to chop off your finger?

What if your significant other decided to pull a Lorena Bobbit with your thumb. Maybe they think you were cheating, so they cut your finger off to get into your phone and see all of your text messages.

Well rest assured. I wasn’t the only one with these crazy thoughts. In fact there were so many people thinking about these particular scenarios that Sebastien Taveau, Chief Technology Officer at Validity Sensors and an expert on biometric technology like Apple’s issued a statement:

“The [RF capacitive sensor] technology is built in a way that the [fingerprint] image has to be taken from a live finger. No one in biometrics wants to talk about cut fingers and dead bodies, but at the end of the day we are still asked to remove the fears of consumers and make sure that they understand that [a severed finger] will not work.”

Aren’t you relieved now?

Of course as SourceFed suggests, nothing can prevent someone from making you unlock your iPhone 5s at gunpoint. I see the plot of a new action film brewing.



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  1. 1

    But legally a court can force to you unlock your iPhone with TouchID, but can not with traditional passwords.
    Standard passwords are considered to be knowledge contained within your mind, and as such an individual can not be force to reveal passwords and can take the 5th.
    However biometrics are considered to by physical attributes, not knowledge, and as such a court can force you to unlock and decrypt if you are using TouchID.
    Basically by using TouchID you are waving your 5th amendment rights. Whether people want to or not is up to them, but Apple isn’t exactly making this clear or known.

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