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Apple Confirms Fingerprint Scanner Wont Copy Fingerprints

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Note -- this news article is more than a year old.

Apple has confirmed that the fingerprint scanner built into its new iPhone wont be storing a copy of the users fingerprint in its memory, just a digital signature.

When announced, there was an outcry about privacy concerns, even though fingerprint scanners have been around for years without causing a problem.

To assuage the concerns, Apple has confirmed that the scanner doesn't store a copy of the user fingerprint in the handset, but converts the the information into an unrelated digital signature. Even if the handset data was extracted, it would not be possible to reverse the process to get a copy of the fingerprint.

The process is not overly dissimilar to how passwords work on many websites. When an account is opened, and a password set up, it is encrypted, and only the encrypted version is stored in the database, When logging in, the password typed in is encrypted by the same method, and then compared with the encrypted version in the database.

At no time is the original version of the password seen, and a good encryption system should make it impossible to reverse the process to see the original. That is why many websites can't tell you what your password is, as they simply don't know. If you lose your password, you need to set up a new one.

Apple also confirmed that it would not be possible for mobile apps to access the fingerprint sensor for their own apps.

iPhone Fingerprint Scanner

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Tags: apple iphone