Thursday, September 12, 2013

          Adjunct Professor Marcia Hofmann on the iPhone's New Fingerprint ID

          Hofmann looks at the legal implications of Apple's new identification system in this opinion piece in Wired, Sept. 12, 2013.

          There’s a lot of talk around biometric authentication since Apple introduced its newest iPhone, which will let users unlock their device with a fingerprint. Given Apple’s industry-leading position, it’s probably not a far stretch to expect this kind of authentication to take off. Some even argue that Apple’s move is a death knell for authenticators based on what a user knows (like passwords and PIN numbers).

          While there’s a great deal of discussion around the pros and cons of fingerprint authentication — from the hackability of the technique to the reliability of readers — no one’s focusing on the legal effects of moving from PINs to fingerprints.

          Because the constitutional protection of the Fifth Amendment, which guarantees that “no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself,” may not apply when it comes to biometric-based fingerprints (things that reflect who we are) as opposed to memory-based passwords and PINs (things we need to know and remember).

          Biometric authentication may make it easier for normal, everyday users to protect the data on their phones. But as wonderful as technological innovation is, it sometimes creates unintended consequences — including legal ones. If Apple’s move leads us to abandon knowledge-based authentication altogether, we risk inadvertently undermining the legal rights we currently enjoy under the Fifth Amendment.

          Here’s an easy fix: give users the option to unlock their phones with a fingerprint plus something the user knows.

          Read the full piece from Wired here. Follow Hofmann on Twitter at @marciahofmann

           

          Go to News Archive

          Share this Story

          Share via Facebook
          Share via TwitterShare via EmailPrint Friendly Version

          Other Recent Stories/ RSS

          Wednesday, June 22, 2016

          UC Hastings Students Honored For Their Work in the Public Interest

          Establishment of New Fund Dedicated to Advancing Social Justice Work at UC Hastings
          Wednesday, June 22, 2016

          UC Hastings Entering Public Safety Partnership with UCSF Police Department

          Expanding police and support services for safety and security of campus, neighborhood.
          Tuesday, June 21, 2016

          Expensive Medicine: Prof. Robin Feldman’s Senate Testimony on the CREATES Act

          “An important safety program is being hijacked to block competition.”
          Monday, June 06, 2016

          Thinkers & Doers: May 2016

          UC Hastings community members in the news and making moves.
          Friday, May 27, 2016

          Prof. Veena Dubal's Objection on behalf of Uber Drivers featured in LA Times

          "When lawyer Veena Dubal heard last month that Uber drivers seeking to be recognized as employees rather than independent contractors might settle their class-action lawsuit before it went to trial, she cried."
          Go to News Archive