Sen. Franken takes issue with new iPhone security feature


A built-in fingerprint scanner on the newly-released iPhone 5S that allows users to unlock and access the phone is raising privacy concerns.

The new security feature called "Touch ID" is the alternative to entering a four-digit passcode, but U.S. Sen. Al Franken says there's significant risk if someone were to hack into the phone, the Associated Press reports.

"Let me put it this way: if hackers get a hold of your thumbprint, they could use it to identify and impersonate you for the rest of your life,” Franken said in a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Franken, the chairman of the Senate Privacy, Technology and the Law subcommittee, wants answers on what Apple plans to do with this highly sensitive data and if it's possible to extract it.

The senator also questions where the data falls under the Stored Communications Act.

The Washington Post reports if the data is considered to be "content data," it requires a warrant to be released. But if the fingerprint is considered a "subscriber identity," it's accessible by subpoena.

Apple has not yet responded to Franken's letter, but said last week that the phone won’t store actual images of users’ fingerprints on the device. Instead, it only stores “fingerprint data,” which remains encrypted within the iPhone’s processor, the Wall Street Journal reported.

This means that even if someone cracked an iPhone’s encrypted chip, they likely wouldn’t be able to reverse engineer someone’s fingerprint, according to the the company.

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