Why the iPhone's fingerprint sensor is better than the ones on older laptops
Does fingerprint recognition work for everyone? No: guitar players, professional chefs, people who work in dry cleaners and chemical plants, and people in jobs that damage their fingertips will have problems. Plus, there are just some people who don't have discernable fingertips. As many as 10% of the population might have problems using fingerprints for recognition; but that's true of all biometrics from retinal scans to voice recognition to using your typing habits to the pattern of veins in your hands to all the other physical characteristics that have been suggested as biometric identifiers; none of them work for everyone. But fingerprints and the new touch fingerprint sensors are the best so far, says Porter. "We investigated every single biometric trait. To make authentication work, the only solid technology on the market today is fingerprints." It's the best at spotting intruders and not blocking legitimate users, she says.
After all the revelations about government surveillance recently, the next question is whether using your fingerprint to unlock your phone hands it over to the government. No reputable fingerprint technology ever sends a copy of your fingerprint anywhere; instead, the sensor calculates a template that it matches your fingers against later, and it stores that securely. For Apple that's in a secure area of the A7 chip; for Windows and Windows Phone devices, that's inside the TPM security chip that also has the digital certificates for your BIOS and for Windows components. Web sites don't get a copy of your fingerprints; they just get a message saying your fingerprint matched.
This time around, fingerprint systems can be a mix of security and convenience. When seven French banks trialed a system that included contactless cards and fingerprint recognition, 94% of the users in the trial wanted to carry on using their fingers to pay. Half of the shoppers in a UK survey by WorldPay said they wanted to use biometrics to go shopping. We're ready for the convenience.
This week, a National Transportation Safety Board judge dismissed a $10,000 fine that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration had lodged against a photographer who had used a drone to take aerial photos for the University of Virginia. The judge found that the FAA hadn't actually issued any enforceable rules regarding the use of commercial drones.
If you've got a Windows XP machine -- either at home or in the office -- consider yourself lucky. In the past, you'd upgrade to a more recent Windows operating system without a thought. Today, you have many options.
It's designed for the 3.5 billion people who have feature phones today. It solves technical problems Google is not interested in and is a better fit for the pre-paid phones popular in developing countries. The only trick is getting developers on board.
The cloud has overcome a lot of its technical challenges, especially when it comes to security. But the biggest problems in cloud computing now are cultural.