Apple to Hill: Face ID Is Secure

Tells Franken data is secure and stays in phone

Apple says its face ID data is encrypted, never leaves the phone, including to Apple, and is not included in device backups.

It was responding to a request for info from Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) about Apple using facial recognition to unlock the new iPhone X.

In a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook Sept. 13, Franken said he would like some answers to a variety of questions about the privacy and security of the system, including unlocking the device with a photo or mask.

Apple VP for public policy, Americas, who wrote Franken in response, said that a neural network trained to spot spoofing defends against masked phone intruders or photos.

She said Apple has a white paper on its web site that explains how it protects customers' privacy and data security, as well as communicating directly with customers.

She also said Apple would be happy to brief Franken anytime if he needed more info.

“I appreciate Apple’s willingness to engage with my office on these issues," said Franken, "and I’m glad to see the steps that the company has taken to address consumer privacy and security concerns. I plan to follow up with Apple to find out more about how it plans to protect the data of customers who decide to use the latest generation of iPhone’s facial recognition technology.”