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App devs can access iPhone X Face ID data, sparking new privacy fears

Apple will allow third-party developers to access iPhone X users’ Face ID data, according to a Reuters report on Thursday.

Providing consumers give their permission, developers will be permitted to build features based on facial features captured to secure the device.

According to the report, those features could include adding masks to selfies or using real world facial expressions for characters in video games.

The report says the devs will be able to capture 50 different facial expressions, as well as building a rough map of the iPhone user’s face.

That data, which will also monitor how often users blink and changes of expression, can be removed from the phone and stored on the developers’ servers, according to the sources.

Related: Pre-order the iPhone X

Reuters has reportedly spied a contract stating developers will not be allowed to sell the facial data to third parties, but naturally, the revelation has some privacy groups spooked.

Apple had claimed your Face ID data will never leave the phone, and won’t even be uploaded to Apple’s servers, so this reported developer agreement raises serious concerns.

Privacy issues overblown?

“The privacy issues around of the use of very sophisticated facial recognition technology for unlocking the phone have been overblown,” said Jay Stanley of the American Civil Liberties Union.

“The real privacy issues have to do with the access by third-party developers.”

Will Apple be able to enforce what happens with the Face ID data once it becomes available to developers?

Stanley adds: “Apple does have a pretty good historical track record of holding developers accountable who violate their agreements, but they have to catch them first – and sometimes that’s the hard part.

“It means household names probably won’t exploit this, but there’s still a lot of room for bottom feeders.”

Will you be granting third party apps access to your Face ID data? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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