Are Your Fingerprints Secure With Apple's Touch ID?

Episode 1017 (07:40)

Apple's iPhone 5s comes with a new security feature called Touch ID, which allows users to unlock their phones with their fingerprint. This struck a chord with many people concerned about privacy after the string of news stories about NSA surveillance, but the way Apple implemented this prevents fingerprints from being accessed by the NSA or any other entity. Apple does not store a picture of the actual fingerprint and doesn't upload anything to its servers. Apple converts the fingerprint to a string of numbers that can identify the fingerprint, and this data is saved in a separate chip that's walled off from the rest of iOS. This means that neither iOS or any other app has access to this data.

Leo says that in many states to get a driver's license, you must be fingerprinted. This registers your fingerprint with the state government which then of course can be shared to law enforcement.