Chinese users concerned about security of Face ID in iPhone X

Updated 2017-09-14 09:30:17 Global Times

New iPhone feature fails to thrill as mobile payments become ubiquitous

Chinese netizens have expressed concern over the security of new iPhone's Face ID, as mobile payments become more and more prevalent in the country.

Apple on Tuesday (U.S. time) unveiled three phones, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X in the Steve Jobs Theater in San Francisco.

The iPhone X enables customers to unlock, authenticate and pay using Face ID.

"Face ID only unlocks iPhone X when customers look at it and is designed to prevent spoofing by photos or masks," said the company, adding that Face ID works also to securely unlock iPhone, enable Apple Pay, gain access to secure apps and many more new features.

However, Chinese users are not yet thrilled by this high-end technology, as many said that it is not safe for users if they can unlock the phone with just looking at it.

"Imagine kidnappers or even strangers transfer all your money by just putting the phone in front of your face and force you to look at it," a user surnamed Tang in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality told the Global Times.

His concern was echoed by many others as mobile payment is becoming a trend in this country.

They were wondering whether the Face ID is safe for mobile payment services, including the frequently used Apple Pay, WeChat Payment and Alipay.

In a test video of iPhone X, Apply Pay can be activated simply by pressing the side bottom twice, and then payment will be completed after the scan of the user's face by the phone and then scan of the phone by the payment machine, news site reported on Wednesday.

According to a UN report published in April, China's total mobile payments in value have increased some 20-fold in four years to reach 20 trillion yuan (.9 trillion) in 2016, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Qin An, director of the China Institute of Cyberspace Strategy, told the Global Times that netizens' concern is reasonable as cases of biometric data theft have been growing in recent years.

"Compared to the traditional code, biometric codes such as fingerprint and Face ID are safer because it is hard to replicate them, but also, it will cause permanent damage once the code is stolen because you cannot change your biometric data," said Qin.

Other users quipped how people would unlock their own phones when their appearance has changed.

"Watch out girls, you may have to put up make up again if you want to unlock your new iPhone X in late night," said picture post circulating online on Wednesday.

Some netizens also joked that people may need to continue dieting after they buy the new iPhone because if they get fat, they may fail to unlock the phone with their changed facial outline.

Apart from the security concern, many Chinese users are also disappointed with prices of the new iPhone X.

The official prices for iPhone X in the Chinese mainland would be 8,388 yuan (,284.3) for one with a storage of 128 GB and 9,688 yuan for one with 256 GB.

According to a poll started by Sina Shanghai on Weibo on Wednesday, 41,382 users voted that they would not buy the iPhone X as for press time, accounting for 81.1 percent of people participate the survey.

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