New Apple mobile security patent could send fingerprints to the cloud
A new filing has been spotted that could bring the data from Touch ID to other devices via the cloud.
The US Patent and Trademark Office published a patent filing from Apple that could have to do with part of its mobile security feature that collects fingerprints in order to unlock devices and conduct other functions through certain iPhone models.
The filing was called “Finger biometric sensor data synchronization via a cloud computing device and related methods”.
The patent described a method of recording an individual’s fingerprints by way of the Touch ID mobile security sensor from Apple, so this information could then be uploaded to the cloud and synced with other Apple devices. The sensor necessary for Touch ID has been built into Apple technology in its smartphones since the iPhone 5S, and in the iPads that have been released since that time in 2013. The sensor allows a device owner to use his or her fingerprints in order to access the device. However, more recently, it also became an identity verification feature when making purchases through the new mobile wallet system, Apple Pay.
This potential change to the mobile security feature is meant to help to make the system more convenient.
Apple described in the patent filing that enrollment into Touch ID could potentially be “cumbersome for users in some instances, such as when multiple fingerprints, users and/or devices are used.” By synchronizing the process using a cloud based function, it would help to eliminate the need to re-register a device owner’s fingerprints on every device, in addition to the fingerprints of all of the other people who are to be given permission to access the iOS gadget.
At the time of the writing of this article, the Touch ID security page at Apple explained that “iOS and other apps never access your fingerprint data, it’s never stored on Apple servers, and it’s never backed up to iCloud or anywhere else.”
If that mobile security policy is to remain the same, it makes one wonder how this potential cloud synchronization technology could possible work, and how it could be safely applied in order to protect the data from the Touch ID feature.