Apple’s patent shows it can collect biometric data from iPhone thieves

The system can capture the thieves, picture, video, audio, fingerprint data and track his GPS location.

Although Apple has made major efforts in curbing the theft of its smartphones, through encryption and Find my iPhone features, it plans on giving a fillip to those efforts judging by its recent patent application.

It now plans on “capturing biometric information for identifying unauthorized users,” which could include, audio, video and even fingerprint data. All of these could either be stored locally or on a remote server, which could help law enforcement agencies nab the thief who has stolen the device.

The idea is actually pretty simple: the mic, the cameras and the Touch ID sensors are already in place to capture the biometric necessary biometric details. All Apple has to do is switch to switch them ON without alerting the thief.

The system can be setup such that even after a single failure of a passcode attempt, the required biometric data will get automatically captured. Naturally, the system can also be tweaked such that only after a pre-determined number of failed attempts, will the system capture the biometric data.

Besides just capturing and storing the data, the patent application suggest that it could also transmit “forensic” data including the phone’s GPS location.

Although the patent application does not specifically mention iPhone or iPad, those are the only two devices in Apple’s stable which have fingerprint sensors.

It has yet to be seen whether such a system can withstand legal scrutiny. More than any other company, Apple should understand the downside of storing user data locally.

However, if this sees the light of the day, tracking and cracking iPhone thefts could become significantly easier.

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