Apple’s New Facial Recognition Tech Can Help and Hinder Law Enforcement


Apple’s new Facial Recognition Technology could help or hinder law enforcement investigators, depending on who you ask.

Forbes.coms  John Koetsier hypothesizes that the new iPhone that Apple unveiled yesterday with FaceID to unlock a phone will make it easier for law enforcement to access your phone.

“The chance of someone else’s fingerprint unlocking your phone, Apple says, is less than one in 50,000, but the chance of someone else’s face unlocking your phone is less than one in 1,000,000,” Koetsier wrote. “However, touching your fingerprint to your phone is a voluntary act that is easy to not do unless physically forced.”

He continued: “Aiming your face at your phone will be harder to resist.”

In other iPhoneX news, law enforcement officers in Maryland and Virginia have said the increased encryption would actually make it harder to retrieve digital evidence they need to solve crimes.

“It’s very frustrating for law enforcement because it makes our job much more difficult to support the community,” Detective Jason Friedman, who works in the Fairfax County Police computer forensics department told WTOP. “The biggest issue, he said, is the latest operating system, IOS 11.”

Encryption technology exacerbates backlogs in digital forensics labs in Maryland and Virginia because investigators cannot access the phone’s data, and in doing so, delay justice indefinitely.

“There was actually an iPad and we couldn’t get into it, and it’s a very serious case … We’re going to have wait for a method, if there ever is one, in order to bypass the security to obtain data from the iPad,” Friedman said. “Within the last couple weeks we’ve had an iPhone 6S and an iPhone 7 in here where it was pass code protected. There was no way to bypass that security and we could not obtain data from the cellphone.”

The station also quoted First Sgt. Rob Keeton of the computer evidence recovery section of Virginia State Police, who said sometimes the evidence analysts can pull off an iPhone 7 is “slim to none,” depending on what data analysts have court permission to access.

The unit has a four-month backlog in processing digital evidence which could grow longer with the introduction of technology that’s harder to crack.

“While they have their right of privacy, unfortunately their right of privacy also hinders our ability to solve the crime and find who could possibly be their murderer,” Friedman said.