UCHastings Instagram

          What's on your #GratitudeTree? #UCH3
          Instagram Photo Likes feliperomerojr, mnguyen_ltd, alixgutmann and 21 others like this.
          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

          Monday, November 23, 2015

          UC Hastings Trial Team Wins ABA San Francisco Regional

          “There are teams that script themselves, with a speech they memorize word for word, and there are rare teams like ours, that don’t come with scripts.”
          Thursday, November 19, 2015

          Wu to Step Down as UC Hastings Chancellor and Dean

          Joint announcement from the UC Hastings Board of Directors and Chancellor and Dean Frank H. Wu
          Wednesday, November 18, 2015

          Manoj Viswanathan to Join UC Hastings Faculty

          Professor Viswanathan's research focuses on tax policy, economic development, and the regulation of tax-exempt organizations.
          Wednesday, November 18, 2015

          Thinkers & Doers: Nov. 18, 2015

          UC Hastings community members in the news and making moves.
          Tuesday, November 17, 2015

          Can more stable work schedules help employees and businesses thrive?

          A groundbreaking study launches in 30 Gap stores this month to pilot best practices aimed at promoting schedule stability for hourly workers.
          Go to News Archive