U.S. Senator asks if FBI can get iPhone 5S fingerprint data via Patriot Act

iphone-5s-fingerprint-scanner-u-s-senator-fbi-phone-5s-fingerprint-dataSince Senator. Al- Franken has become of part of the United States Senate, he has been the Chairman of Senate Judiciary Subcommittee which deals with issues related to Privacy, Technology and the Law. He has been quite clear in his stance which has been to raise and address the questions related to surveillance and technology issues which he feels are unjust, improper or a simply questionable for some reason.

The launch of Apple’s new iPhone 5S featuring the fingerprint scanning technology has made Senator. Franken conscious that a question needs to be asked here. He has written a letter to the CEO of Apple Tim Cook asking him to give a logic behind mainstreaming such technology.

He wrote that the passwords are more dynamic and secret while the fingerprints are permanent and public. No one can know your password unless you tell them, and in case it is hacked, you can change it at your disposal repeatedly. On the other hand, fingerprints cannot be changed and you only have ten to use. You leave out your fingerprints when you touch something, and this makes quite public and prone to be ascertained. He further added that if some hacker gets your thumbprint, they can easily make of your identity and can use it against you.

Well Mr. Franken is not the only one around here who is concerned about the fingerprint issue, as some people have complied a bounty of around 16000 US Dollars for the hacker that can get into the touch ID for Apple’s new edition.

Some other specific questions were also asked in the letter:

1: Is the fingerprint data stored on the device convertible into visual or digital format for being used by some third party?

2: Can the fingerprint data be accessed through the iPhone? If yes than whether such access can be done remotely or only through physical access?

3: According the intelligence Law of USA, the FBI can ask for any tangible material such as books, records, documents, papers or other items in case they consider such data to be of use in some intelligence investigation. The question here is that whether Apple considers the fingerprint data as a tangible item as per the USA Patriot Act?

Well the questions are being discussed under various forums but the Patriot Act does not seem to come into play because Apple is not using the cloud to store the Fingerprint data.

Waqas

Waqas Amir is a Milan-based cybersecurity journalist with a passion for covering latest happenings in cyber security and tech world. In addition to being the founder of this website, Waqas is also into gaming, reading and investigative journalism.