The new iPhone was just launched and there was a lot of fanfare about the facial recognition software it has (there was a moment when it didn’t work as well as they expected).

One of the things that’s a big deal about this is that the key elements of this new security feature are in the secure enclave – which means that unlike the fingerprint biometric that has historically been at the software layer (and thus very hackable) – this is in a layer that cannot be hacked.

But a number of people misunderstand what this does.

It is not an identity authentication solution.

All they are doing is confirming that it’s the same face that owns/controls that phone.

What people need increasingly is something to assess a face with a government issued ID like a passport or driver’s license and make sure that’s the same person – and that the ID is real, and present, and not tampered with.

Once you do that – then the face can be associated with the identity. Then once you have that, you can use it as a tool for everything from enrolling new customers in an app, to making it effortless to login.  If you don’t do this – the enrollment process can be compromised and then all authentications downstream are compromised as well.

The iPhone Faceid (or even the touchid) that come resident with Apple and Samsung devices are “consumer grade” biometrics. They are good for the user to access the phone and that’s it.

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