Just 10 years ago, the idea of unlocking a device that contains all of your personal information with your face would be laughable. Mainly because we weren’t yet on board with the idea of having all of our personal information stored on one device. And unlocking anything with your face was the stuff of action films.
Although Android users have had access to biometric unlocking for some time, and iPhones have been capable to unlocking with a fingerprint for quite some time, it wasn’t until Apple’s very public gaffe that facial recognition was shot into the limelight. When they introduced the iPhone X and tried to demonstrate the facial recognition, it failed in spectacular fashion.
Facial recognition can be easily hacked, which is why it’s still no match for a password or passcode. Better still, try gesture unlocking. At the moment, police can force you to unlock your phone with your fingerprint, so you’d better believe they’re not going to have any problem using your face to unlock it. This isn’t about getting around the law, it’s about making sure that no one can access your personal information without your knowledge.
Our phones carry vast swathes of personal information, from our banking details to in-depth details of where we have been. Unless you have location services switched off, you’ll be able to pull up a map of everywhere you’ve been while carrying your Google device.
Using your face to unlock your phone might make you feel like a spy, but the technology just isn’t quite there yet. One website has already shown how easy it is to create a face mask to unlock a phone using a silicone mask stretched over a 3D printed frame. Print out some eyes and a mouth and stick them to the frame and you have a phone unlocking device for just $120. Elaborate thought it may be, it still presents a security risk.
This isn’t to say you can’t use facial recognition for anything. Many app developers have been quick to spot the interest in this kind of technology and are using it to lock individual apps on your phone. Parents can also use facial recognition locking to ensure little ones only have access to age-appropriate content on shared devices. Remember, always have a lock on your phone, and don’t leave it to your face or fingerprint to keep it secure.