Apple into controversy with its new facial recognition feature

Last Updated: 17 June, 2016
Apple into controversy with its new facial recognition feature

At this year’s WWDC, Apple has introduced a new feature that will catalog your pictures according to the faces in them. This new facial recognition system comes in the form of an update to Apple Photos which will be hitting your device sometime later this fall.

“The big news in Photos this year is Advanced Computer Vision,” Federighi told the crowd. “We’re applying advanced deep learning techniques to bring facial recognition to the iPhone.”

Apple’s new feature is some way relevant to Google Photos and Facebook’s long-pending system of auto-tagging photos and classifying them in person. But, face recognition system of both Google and Facebook are currently facing lawsuits. They were claimed that they have violated Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act. It is said that this system stores biometric information which requires concrete consent and notice that these companies are giving right now.

Apple facial recognition

However, Apple doesn’t give up on privacy as they follow stricter policies and measures on how and what type of data is collected and stored. These days, privacy is the most discussed topic on every platform because each one of us is more concerned about our privacy. Onstage, Federighi insisted that Apple’s new system only uses local data, which means the company isn’t storing faceprints on company servers. It still creates faceprints as a part of processing, but everything is happening inside your phone which Apple or outside world doesn’t have any sort of access to it. But Facebook and Google stores these sensitive data on their cloud and are getting benefits as a result, though they defend themselves that they store data only to improve the overall functionality of these systems.

Although it’s not clear, whether Apple will have to face a lawsuit under the Illinois law because it deals with systems that collect biometric data in any form. While Apple claims they don’t store the data on their server, but it’s hard to decide that Photos isn’t collecting data. Since iOS 10 is in the works currently, it’s hard to say for sure, but early indications suggest there’s no separate opt-out for the Photos system. With both Google and Facebook facing suits for insufficient disclosures, that’s ample reason to be concerned.

Get all the latest news from WWDC 2016 here!