Excursions by Amit Gawande

Apparently, Google’s face unlock on Pixel 4 can allow access to a user even if he has his eyes closed. This comes around the same time when a critical bug was detected in the fingerprint unlock on Samsung’s Galaxy S10 devices.

Both the companies put out a completely tone-deaf first response. Samsung, naively, suggested using their authorised” accessories. Google, on the other hand, reiterated that theirs is a strong biometric” solution.

I am really surprised by this callous attitude towards the user’s security on the devices.

Google preferred to focus on the gimmicks in Project Soli rather than strengthening the face unlock first. They felt a need to differentiate their face unlock feature from iPhone’s. Samsung felt the need to go with a different mechanism of the ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint reader. All others use optical ones.

This need to differentiate for the sake of differentiation is laughable.

A tweet from Rene Ritchie sums it nicely.

If we’ve learned anything over the last couple of days it’s that good biometrics take a lot of consideration.

Smartphones have become critical for many in their day-to-day use-cases, from identity to banking. And the inbuilt biometric solutions are increasingly being depended on to validate that identity. So the OEMs can’t afford a misstep with these solutions.

I hope the smartphone makers realize they can’t deal indifferently with the security of the devices.

thoughts security
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