"When we set our own piece of skin as the passcode, it is a solid and definite connection."
But a protester wearing one of Wei's IDENTITY strips could avoid being compelled by discreetely discarding the prosthetic.Government spooks also wouldn't be able to unlock the phone by replicating the owner's fingerprint from one stored in a biometric database. A new report from the US Government Accountability Office revealed that the FBI's Next Generation Identification database has collected hundreds of millions of fingerprints and face recognition photos, a majority of which belong to Americans who have never even been suspected of a crime.Still, for most people with iPhones, their device's built-in security features are probably more than sufficient to deter most intruders. Apple has engineered its most recent models to automatically disable fingerprint unlock and require the user's passcode after five unsuccessful attempts, among other conditions. (Android, with its fragmented security ecosystem, is another story entirely.)At the end of the day, IDENTITY is a provocation—and a very good one, at that. Rather than create a be-all, end-all solution, Wei has made a functional prototype that imagines a future in which we can reap the benefits of biometrics while also preserving our privacy and autonomy. Even if consumers don't rush to replace their fingerprints now, using IDENTITY made a compelling case for how we might one day take back control.
I ultimately found that the best use cases for fake fingerprints are situational.