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Unlocking Phones with 3D Printed Faces

Tech Crunch recently ran a feature detailing some disturbing implications of 3D printed faces.  Apparently, it is now possible to create a 3D printed model of a person’s head to hack into the protection structures of many modern smart phones – such as Androids and iPhones.

“Gone, it seems, are the days of the trusty passcode, which many still find cumbersome, fiddly, and inconvenient – especially when you unlock your phone dozens of times a day.  Phone makers are taking to more convenient unlock methods” such as facial recognition.

However, this means “a mere 3D printed model [of your face] can trick your phone into giving up your secrets.”  This makes it easier for hackers and cops to invade your privacy.  “It’s no secret biometrics – your fingerprints and your face – aren’t protected under the Fifth Amendment.  [In the United States of America.]  This means police can’t compel you to give up your passcode, but [legally] they can forcibly depress your fingerprint to unlock your phone, or hold it to your face while you’re looking at it.”  Already, this has become a common occurrence.  Now, “there’s also little in the way of stopping police from 3D printing or replicating a set of biometrics to break into a phone.”

As USC Gould School of Law Professor Orin Kerr explains: “legally, it’s no different from using fingerprints to unlock a device.  The government [will] get the biometric unlocking information somehow, by either the finger pattern shape or the head shape.”  They do not need a warrant to 3D print a replica of someone’s face.

These concerns continue to loom over our increasingly post-password world.

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Tech Crunch

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